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Iqaluit teacher charged with sexual interference

Teacher, name not disclosed, released with conditions

By SAMANTHA DAWSON

(Updated at 4:16 p.m.)

An Iqaluit teacher faces three counts of sexual interference, police said March 29.

“Charges have now been laid and the teacher has been released with conditions to abide by, including no contact with persons under the age of 16 unless accompanied by a responsible adult, until the next court appearance,” the Iqaluit RCMP said in a news release.

The crime of sexual interference, under section 151 of the Criminal Code, relates to the actions of a person who touches the body of any young person under the age of 16 or a sexual purpose, indirectly or directly, with a body part or an object.

A conviction on a sexual interference charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 90 days in jail on a summary conviction, and a mandatory minimum of one year in jail if the charge is prosecuted by indictment.

Police refused to disclose the name of the accused teacher, or the name of the school, “to protect the identities of those victimized.”

“There’s a concern about identifying the students,” RCMP Sgt. Dave Knibbs said March 29. “It takes a lot of courage to come forward,” he said.

It was a few days after RCMP heard the complaints from students and conducted an investigation that someone was charged in connection with the complaint, Knibbs said.

When asked for comment about the charges facing the Iqaluit teacher, Jack Anawak, a member of the Iqaluit District Education Authority, said the DEA’s role is to talk about child sexual abuse prevention in general, not about individual cases.

Anawak said DEA members will discuss child sexual abuse at their next meeting.

Anawak, who attended a workshop on child sexual abuse prevention March 28, said he’s “very concerned” about the high rates of child sexual abuse in Nunavut.

“To me, it’s out there,” he said. “Parents, as teachers, as councillors, clergy or whoever else, let’s see what we can do to ensure that we do our part to stamp it out.”

“I think it’s time to discuss openly the fact that sexual abuse happens… let’s not shy away from discussing it because it’s uncomfortable to discuss it or whatever. When I was abused, I didn’t think it was something I had to talk to somebody about. I was too young to determine whether this was right or wrong.”

(more to come)

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