Former Gjoa teacher pleads guilty to sex charges

A former Gjoa Haven teacher has been sentenced to only one year in jail after pleading guilty to six counts of sexual assault. One victim was only eight years old when he molested her.



IQALUIT — A former Gjoa Haven teacher was sentenced to one year in jail last week after pleading guilty to six sex-related charges.

The charges relate to incidents that took place during his employment as a classroom assistant at the hamlet’s Kekertak Ilihakvik School.

Abraham Hiqiniq, 44, was sentenced in a Gjoa Haven courtroom last week to one year in jail for one count of indecent assault. He will also serve one year in jail for five counts of sexual assault.

The two sentences will be served concurrently — at the same time. Hiqiniq will be on probation for one year following his release.

Police charged Hiqiniq with 10 sex-related charges in June, 1999. Four of them were withdrawn by the Crown.

The charges relate to incidents that occurred between 1975 and 1986, while Hiqiniq was a classroom assistant in Gjoa Haven. His main duties were to teach Inuktitut and physical education.

Each of the complainants is female, and one was about eight years old at the time of the assault, court documents say. Some of the complainants are now in their 30s. The Criminal Code prohibits the publication or broadcast of names of complainants in sexual assault cases.

In a pre-sentencing report submitted to the court, community social worker Norman Prince described Hiqiniq as a “hard-working family man who otherwise enjoys the respect of the community.”

Hiqiniq is married and has four children and four grandchildren. He now drives water trucks for the hamlet.

Prince wrote that Hiqiniq is “genuinely remorseful,” is unlikely to reoffend, and recommends he remain in Gjoa Haven following his release from jail.

In a victim impact statement presented to the court, one complainant says the abuse she suffered sapped her desire to attend school and that she later gave up on the education she wanted. Another says Hiqiniq robbed her “childhood, pureness and innocence,” and ruined what should have been the best years of her life.

Another Gjoa Haven resident was ordered to stand trial for 15 sex-related charges last week.

Ben Kogvic, 43, is also a former teacher at Kekertak Ilihakvik School. Police charged him with 18 sex-related offences at the same time they charged Hiqiniq. Three of the charges have since been dropped.

The offences allegedly took place between 1976 and 1988.

Kogvic, a Nunavut Water Board employee, was released until the trial.

He is scheduled to appear in an Iqaluit courtroom on April 6.

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