Parents find out 6 months after hearing about sexual abuse against teachers
WARNING: This story contains details that some readers may find disturbing.
Parents of students at a Catholic high school in Perth, Ontario, are only just being notified of a historic case of sexual abuse, nearly six months after the provincial regulator for teachers found it credible.
The Ontario College of Teachers ruled last summer that Edward (Ted) Michael Oliver was guilty of professional misconduct after investigating allegations that he sexually abused a 17-year-old student while he was at St. John Catholic High school taught.
The regulator revoked Oliver’s teaching license after examining complaints through its internal disciplinary process.
A letter to parents and guardians from the Eastern Ontario Catholic District Education Board (CDSBEO) said: “We recently learned of a decision by the Ontario College of Teachers regarding this former teacher.”
The letter is dated February 1, 2023, but the college’s Disciplinary Committee made its decision on July 20, 2022 and posted the decision on its website a month later. It is unclear when Oliver stopped teaching.
In an email to CBC, CDSBEO said it learned of the college’s decision on January 27, 2023, a full six months after the decision was made.
Oliver was found not guilty of any sexual offense in a criminal court. Ontario Provincial Police have yet to respond to CBC’s inquiry as to whether any criminal investigations or charges are pending.
CBC was unable to track down Oliver for comment. The former student’s legal team says they are also trying to reach him on a civil matter.
The college does not identify the year the misconduct occurred in its decision, but the school board’s letter to parents confirms that Oliver taught at the high school in the mid-2000s.
The victim’s identity is protected by a publication ban, but she was a 12th grade student at St. John’s when Oliver worked at the school.
In her statement, the girl described how she first met Oliver at an after-school event and that during their first private meeting in the school’s atrium, the conversation “quite quickly turned to the topic of drug use.”
She added that over the next few weeks he became interested in her and they often spoke privately about his past drug use, music and sex, including sexual fantasies.
One day after school, the girl said that Oliver drove her to a mall to buy her a CD and then invited her to his apartment, where he had sex with her.
According to the former student, the inappropriate contact with Oliver lasted for several weeks before she began to regret it.
Teacher certificate revoked
The Disciplinary Committee explained that the former student initially approached the college with a complaint against Oliver to “get a degree in her life in 2017, but did not pursue the complaint at that point because she was afraid”.
After processing what happened for a number of years, she renewed her complaint in 2019 because she wanted Oliver to realize his actions were harmful and she couldn’t go on knowing that another student might have a similar experience .
According to the college’s disciplinary committee, Oliver did not attend the July 2022 disciplinary hearing or provide evidence in his defense.
However, the college relied on its own investigator, who reviewed the student’s account of what had happened and concluded that his testimony was credible and reliable.
The committee concluded that Oliver was guilty of both professional misconduct and sexual abuse of a student, that his actions towards the student were “reprehensible” and that he “extended his position of trust and authority in the most egregious way.” abused by exploiting the student’s interests in him and her vulnerabilities.”
Citing the great psychological and emotional damage to the victim and how his actions have threatened the public’s trust in the teachers, the college decided to revoke Oliver’s teaching certificate immediately and ordered him to pay US$10,000 in legal costs -Dollar.
Victim sues school board, teacher
Erika Tower, an attorney with Lerners in Toronto, told CBC the former student hired her law firm in a civil suit against both the CDSBEO and Ted Oliver, seeking damages for the sex abuse findings listed in the college’s decision.
“It has affected her relationships, the way she sees the world, the way she is suspicious of the relationships between children and authority figures,” Tower said.
“As important as it is to come forward, it’s very triggering and difficult to see these things in the media and get everything out there. But she’s really motivated and driven by a sense of social responsibility and trying to protect others from possibly enduring what she’s going through.”
None of the allegations have been proven in court.
3rd case at the same school
News of this historic incident comes as the St. John school community is still grappling with two previous cases involving allegations of teacher sexual abuse.
In December, former teacher David Alexander Giroux was charged with six counts of sexually assaulting a person under the age of 16.
In April 2021, teacher Jeff Peters pleaded guilty to sex crimes against two former students who attended Perth High School between 2013 and 2016, although CBC has learned the allegations against him date back to 2005.
In its February 2023 letter to parents, the CDSBEO signals that it has informed the police of Oliver’s sexual abuse case and offers students support through school counselors.