Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Nunavut April 17, 2018 - 11:25 am

Nunavut teacher shows no remorse ahead of sex crime sentencing

"I can’t work in school because it brings back too many bad memories"

Former Sanikiluaq teacher Johnny Meeko, shown leaving the Nunavut Court of Justice building in May 2017 after a court appearance, has until Tuesday afternoon to surrender himself into custody at Baffin Correctional Centre ahead of his sentencing for decades of sexual abuse against young students, after a Nunavut judge revoked his bail, April 13. (PHOTO BY STEVE DUCHARME)
Former Sanikiluaq teacher Johnny Meeko, shown leaving the Nunavut Court of Justice building in May 2017 after a court appearance, has until Tuesday afternoon to surrender himself into custody at Baffin Correctional Centre ahead of his sentencing for decades of sexual abuse against young students, after a Nunavut judge revoked his bail, April 13. (PHOTO BY STEVE DUCHARME)

Former Sanikiluaq teacher Johnny Meeko has until this afternoon to surrender himself into custody at Baffin Correctional Centre ahead of his sentencing for decades of sexual abuse against young students, after a Nunavut judge revoked his bail on April 13.

The senior Nunavut judge, Justice Neil Sharkey, revoked Meeko’s bail last Friday after hearing sentence submissions from lawyers, who agreed on certain broad issues, but submitted different sentence recommendations that they argued were appropriate for Meeko’s crimes.

Sharkey found Meeko guilty of 27 of 32 charges of sexual abuse last December, stemming from what the judge called in his written decision a “decades-long pattern of abuse involving young students in his charge,” between 1972 and 2007.

The charges Meeko was found guilty of range from sexual touching to sexual assault to soliciting oral sex from minors, usually involving young children in his Grade 3 class.

Meeko maintains his innocence, and has not accepted the decision of the court, said lawyer Stephanie Boydell, who took over representing Meeko after he fired his previous lawyer in February.

Boydell recommended a sentence for Meeko of two years less a day in territorial prison, while the Crown opted for three-and-a-half years in a federal institution. That’s after both lawyers subtracted time Meeko already served in custody between 2012 and 2013.

Meeko has been living in Iqaluit on restrictive conditions since he was released on bail in 2015.

The elephant in the room for both the judge and lawyers was how to square Meeko’s crimes with precedents set by other serial sex abusers in Nunavut’s past, like Ed Horne and Eric Dejaeger, who each similarly violated positions of authority over children for decades. Both men received more lengthy sentences, but for worse crimes.

Sharkey also appeared to question the Crown’s jail sentence recommendation, based on case precedent derived from those cases.

“People in Mr. Meeko’s position have been given sentences for five or six years [based on the charges they had in common], [but] has not that culture of culpability and accountability changed as we realize now the impact of these types of crimes upon the victims?” Sharkey asked.

One of Meeko’s victims fought back tears as she delivered a victim impact statement to the court via video link from Sanikiluaq.

“I don’t trust teachers anymore … I can’t work in school because it brings back too many bad memories,” she said.

Boydell told Sharkey that he must focus on the harm caused to the children that Meeko was found guilty of, but that “rehabilitation, totality and restraint must also be applied.”

“What would a teacher today, in 2018 … what would a Inuit or non-Inuit teacher receive as a sentence, on a guilty plea, if they were putting their hands down the pants of Grade 3 girls?” Sharkey asked lawyers.

“Just in one offence, in relation to one little girl, the climate has changed, has it not?”

Meeko was present during the day’s proceedings, but shook his head when asked by Sharkey if he had anything to say to the court.

Due to Meeko’s age and poor health, Sharkey allowed him the weekend to prepare for incarceration ahead of his sentencing date, which is currently scheduled for April 26.

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(25) Comments:

#1. Posted by Bbf on April 17, 2018

Is government of Nunavut and kso, dea being accountable for this? Others are responsible here tonfor letting this go on so long!

#2. Posted by christina thomas on April 17, 2018

my late husband and I lived in Sanikiluaq when Johnny Meeko was a teacher at the school ... I find it difficult to believe that the principal and councellor weren,t aware of some of the accusations ... maybe a lot of this horrific abuse could have been avoided if action had been taken sooner ... just my opinion

#3. Posted by Pissed on April 17, 2018

Some teachers were aware what he was doing and did not bother to do anything because it wasn’t their child/niece/nephew or grandchildren he sexually touched. Fucked up school up to this day.

#4. Posted by angry resident on April 17, 2018

He had an assistant who help him with students who were falling behind their work, she too knew what was happening but never bothered to report him

#5. Posted by It'll be a slap on the wrist on April 17, 2018

This is not justice—found guilty of 27 charges of sexual abuse: “two years less a day in territorial prison, while the Crown opted for three-and-a-half years in a federal institution”. 
Too much credit allotted for bits of time in custody in the last 5 years.  He’s negatively impacted not just the lives of his victims, but their families as well- generational trauma.  This sentence wil not serve as a deterrent.  And people like him cannot be rehabilitated. 
And the “restrictive conditions”—ha—what a joke.  He’s been living a comfortable life with his wife, and other family members during his time in Iqaluit.  There have been frequent visits with family and friends from his home town.  He’s been to elder & church gatherings and even walked a bride down the aisle a month ago. 
He needs to be locked away for years- He’ll be free in no time.
The only hope is that he might be charged with additional crimes.

#6. Posted by Double Pissed off on April 17, 2018

What in the world were those so called teachers. Teachers? about sex?? This Jo Need May Go. Safe by his poor health?? Whatta!! Still defending himself? He should pay for what he deserves. At least down on his knees and confess. Pay to his victims healing journey. As for me, no thanks to pity this old thing.

#7. Posted by SICK on April 17, 2018

sex crimes against children are so common. And many people turn a blind eye to it. People dont want to get involved and or dont want to have to make a report to the RCMP or testify in court.
These children were innocent victims of a horrible monster. Although he is old and not healthy, he should still go to jail for at least 5 years. Justice for victims is not 2 years less a day. Thats a joke.

#8. Posted by Tell on April 17, 2018

This goes on and on

A teacher based in Kimmirut actually went to Iqaluit and told the School Superintendant he suspected Ed Horne of being up to no good.

What did he get for his deep concern?

No action from him or others!

What does it take to realize the number of lives that have been affected long-term by not saying anything?

Get some spine people and report things promptly.

Things HAVE changed, so go for it!

#9. Posted by Lock him up and throw away the key-- please! on April 17, 2018

2 & 3: Yes!

He has immediate family members who are teachers who’ve actively supported him & professed his innocence. 

Climate & culture(‘school climate’,‘school culture’-broadened to cover communities) has a lot to do with the issues surrounding children.

When Meeko worked at the school, there was an ineffective school counsellor who could barely look after themself, let alone children. A puzzle piece?

There was the principal who covered up abuse perpetrated by their spouse who worked at the school. There was an investigation(not in the media?). Meeko worked there under this administrator. In many places, a teaching licence would have been suspended: nope, not for that principal. Not in NU. This principal was a co-principal at that school when Meeko was there. Wondering about other things were ignored or downplayed by admin.

Stop protecting these individuals & step-up to protect children & better their lives!

What child abuse prevention programs are happening in NU & in schools

#10. Posted by Angry resident on April 17, 2018

There was a lady who worked with him for many year ( who is now retired) went through the local FM radio crying right after he got first arrested, that lady thought she was going to get arrested too for some reason? I don’t know, she probably knew what was happening during his teaching years. Makes me wonder why those who worked with him never spoke up? Is it because they are related? Someone of those teachers ( one of the vice principal) are still working. They too need to
Speak up or get fired for not saying anything.

#11. Posted by Sorrynotsorry on April 18, 2018

The fact that he shows a lack of remorse should be taken into account. The fact that he has showed a disregard for bail conditions should be taken into account. It is no secret that he and his keepers have made no effort to abide by his conditions, allowing him to be in the presence of young ones, etc. The lack of interest during court (crossword puzzles!) should be taken into account. I am sad for what this man may have gone through in his childhood, but he is basically giving the finger to the court and his victims.

#12. Posted by Inuk on April 18, 2018

Young or old. Do the crime pay for the crime. Nunavut needs to crack down on child molesters. For sure he’s molested his family members or kids in general. 5 year sentence is fine judge.

#13. Posted by reader on April 18, 2018

When a child is taken advantaged of,he or she, their life changes forever in their liveleyhood. It not only happened in the Meeko case. It is ongoing and people should start speaking to authorities instead of pretending not to know because it is happening everywhere. Wheter he or she is your relative. By the way, Mr. Meeko, his health shouldn’t taken into factor for sentencing. And let us start speaking before our whole generation is is all screwed up. Speak-up now.

#14. Posted by beaked buzzard on April 18, 2018

teachers always taught us “take responsibility for your own actions!”  27 charges…8-9 year old 3rd graders… innocence violated. Predator, planned, lusted, no remorse… maximum sentence only to be expected.

#15. Posted by survivor on April 18, 2018

when you are a victim, I was angry for a long time, they don’t care who they hurt, I was alcoholic, drug addict, angry man is a wrong man . . . and its hard to ask for help or to get help, he doesn’t care what he did, he got away with it . . .

#16. Posted by Concerned on April 18, 2018

teachers who worked with him should be questioned. For sure they knew what he was doing and what was happening. They too should speak up or are they protecting him?

#17. Posted by Jeannie on April 18, 2018

People that worked with him,Speak up for the abused,gee,he’s a child molester,why protec5 him.

#18. Posted by F*cked up on April 18, 2018

For those who think he is innocent. He’s not. He hurt a lot of students and some of them are afraid to speak up. They can’t bare the pain anymore, that’s why he got reported after years later. What he did, it hurts.

#19. Posted by Hang it on April 18, 2018

Too bad there’s no hanging laws. That should be hung out like a caribou skin.

#20. Posted by Monica Connolly on April 18, 2018

In Ontario, you can be fined $50,000 or go to jail for a couple of years if you are a teacher or other youth professional and fail to report suspicions of child abuse or neglect. That’s just suspicions - you don’t have to have proof; the Children’s Aid Society takes over after you report. What is the current Nunavut law on duty to report?

#21. Posted by What goes on in Nunavut on April 18, 2018

How is it that a an individual convicted of sexual abuse of a child (yes, that person did serve time, is now an elder) can be allowed to be on the DEA for multiple terms.  Same community as Meeko.
Do you want to know what a sickening feeling it was to see that person frequently in the school as the DEA Chairperson - hallways, office, staffroom? 
Why is this allowed to happen?  Does this make any sense? 
Well, yes it does: because this is Nunavut—the land of forgive and forget.  And if you don’t subscribe to that mentality, it will be shoved down your throat. 
And what about bootleggers & major dopers being on DEAs?
And then there will be Meeko’s minuscule sentence.
His victims deserve justice.

#22. Posted by Angry resident on April 19, 2018

Sanikiluaq has THE worst school in Nunavut, in fact! All around the world I believe!
There was another teacher who was charged few years ago by students ( mostly boys ) for physically and verbally abusing students and that former principal (now a teacher) allowed him to abuse them for many years just because that teacher was her husband.
You have no idea how fucked up the school on Sanikiluaq is to this day.
And those boys who charged him did not get any justice as they were suppose to, that teacher was fired but his wife didn’t, the one who allowed him to do so.
Speak your children and listen to what they have to say about school so this too won’t happen to them.
You don’t know what goes on behind closed doors.
I’m so fucking pissed off about this.

#23. Posted by What!?!?!? on April 19, 2018

Hey Crown!! 3.5 years is no where near the time this sicko should get.

#24. Posted by im one of his victims on April 21, 2018

he should be stabbed

#25. Posted by Know your rights on April 22, 2018

I think I know the whole story. I never really liked school because of the teachers aware of his act. The way he treated people inside the school everyone knew. Not until the right RCMP deployed to our community that’s when things started shifting. As I knew a lot of them were devastated, so I believe this guy has to be charge to. He wasn’t alone. People who dropped out of school are the smartest ones to get out of the school with teachers like this. It won’t be to long until I start suing people who were part of him.

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