Former Wynyard-area music and band teacher Gerard Loehr was convicted Friday on three counts of sexual assault involving band students related to his work with the Shamrock School Division in the 1990s.
Judge Lloyd Stang rendered his verdict late Friday afternoon from Wynyard Provincial Court by video- and teleconference, with Loehr and one of his two defence lawyers connecting from Ontario.
The case returns to court on Nov 23, to set a later date for Loehr’s sentencing.
Six former students, all women now, accused their former teacher of sexual interference (sometimes called sexual touching) and sexual assault when they were teenagers, all 14 years old or younger. Loehr, now 57, was in his late 20s and early 30s at the time.
The women had come forward to Wynyard RCMP with complaints in February 2019.
Loehr had previously pleaded not guilty and the charges went to trial in Wynyard from July 27 to Aug. 13. Stang has ordered publication bans on identifying any of the women making the complaints.
Loehr, who now resides in Ottawa, then worked for the school division, based out of Foam Lake east of Wynyard on Highway 16, from 1990 until the summer months of 1995.
The three sex assault convictions are based on complaints from three different women.
Several of the assaults involved Loehr sitting or standing behind one of the girls to provide instruction for her musical instrument, court heard.
Stang concluded from the complainant's testimony that he did so “so closely that his torso and front hip and groin area would come into contact with the back portions of her body.”
Sometimes, the judge said, “Mr. Loehr had an erection, which she could feel pressing against her lower back area.”
Stang described Loehr’s actions as “sexual and were made for a sexual purpose and that they violated her sexual integrity,” even if he didn’t have an erection every time the contact happened.
The teacher also, on several occasions, touched the girl’s breasts with either his hand or forearm during lessons.
Another girl had private lessons with Loehr.
During each of the three sessions, court heard, “he stood behind her and rubbed her breasts with his hands, as she demonstrated on herself while testifying,” Stang said.
Given that the same type of touching happened, always on the girl’s breasts, during three different lessons, the judge concluded Loehr’s actions to be “intentional” and hence worthy of conviction.
Stang found Loehr guilty on two separate counts, sexual assault and sexual interference, for the same two incidents involving a third girl, who was in Grade 7 at the time they happened.
He drove her two different times to Saskatoon, just the two of them, court heard.
Each time, Loehr held the girl’s hand and then used their clasped hands to touch her upper thigh area.
Using her earlier testimony, Stang said Loehr’s actions were tapping and caressing in nature.
“The way the touching occurred, the fact that the touching included both holding hands and touching of her leg along with the fact that this occurred on both trips to Saskatoon,” convinced the judge Loehr’s actions were intentional.
He convicted the former music-teacher of sexual assault for the thigh-rubbing, while putting a stay of proceedings on the sexual interference charge, referencing a legal rule regarding multiple convictions based on the same evidence.
Loehr is also facing multiple sex-related charges in Ontario in connection with his work as a music teacher in Ottawa.
— with files from The Canadian Press
Evan Radford, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Regina Leader-Post, The Leader-Post