Former teacher stands trial on 18 sex-related charges

Johnny Meeko previously served nine-year prison sentence over sexual abuse of children

Johnny Meeko, a former teacher in Sanikiluaq, centre and wearing a blue cap, is seen leaving the Nunavut Court of Justice in Iqaluit in May 2017. Meeko is facing four new charges and 14 others from a previous trial. (File photo)

By Meral Jamal

Former school teacher Johnny Meeko returned to the Nunavut Court of Justice on Tuesday to stand trial on 18 new historic sex-related criminal charges.

He previously served a nine-year prison sentence after being convicted on charges related to sexual abuse of children. 

Meeko, who taught school in Sanikiluaq, now faces charges in connection with allegations of child sexual abuse made by by 11 complainants who were his students from the 1970s through the early 2000s.

On the current charges, Meeko, who has is on bail, chose trial by judge and jury. Twelve jurors were selected in court Tuesday. Judge Paul Bychok imposed a ban on publication of the complainants’ names.

Opening statements were made by Crown prosecutor Abel Dion on Tuesday as well, with the first witness being called to testify.

A resident of Sanikiluaq, the witness said she studied at Nuiyak School in the hamlet in the early 1990s.

She testified Meeko was her teacher when she entered the third grade, which is when he sexually touched her for the first time.

“He made me uncomfortable,” the witness said, noting she did not confide in anyone about the experience at the time.

The witness said Meeko sexually touched her a second time when she was 13 years old. She had joined the Junior Canadian Rangers program and Meeko was a supervisor.

“I just want to be heard,” the witness said when questioned about why she chose to come forward in this trial.

The trial continues Wednesday and is scheduled to continue until June 9.


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