A former Saskatchewan music and band teacher accused of sexually assaulting six students was found guilty.
Judge Lloyd Stang handed down his verdict against Gerard Loehr, 57, on Nov. 13 in Wynyard Circuit Court.
Loehr was convicted on three counts of sexual assault and one count of sexual interference.
Judge Stang said he had “grave concerns” about Loehr’s honesty and believability and didn’t find him a believable or reliable witness.
“I do not believe Mr. Loehr and I do believe the complainants and find their evidence to be reliable. I am convinced beyond a reasonable doubt in the guilt of the accused.”
Loehr, 57, appeared with his lawyer in Wynyard court by video from Ontario. Loehr was charged in 2019 with five counts of sexual assault and six counts of sexual interference related to incidents involving students in the 90s. The court heard that the victims encountered Loehr when he was a teacher in Wynyard and Foam Lake schools when he worked in the Shamrock School Division.
Five former students testified during a trial in Wynyard court in July. The victims ranged in age from 12 to 14 at the time of the incidents.
Judge Stang found Loehr not guilty on four counts of sexual interference because the girls were 14 at the time and according to the law in the 90s, the age of consent was 14. The age has since been raised to 16 and today, the Criminal Code Section 151 charge of sexual interference now states, “Every person who, for a sexual purpose, touches, directly or indirectly, with a part of the body or with an object, any part of the body of a person under the age of 16 years… is guilty.”
Judge Stang also found Loehr not guilty on two counts of sexual assault because he had concerns about the reliability of the witness’ memory of the incidents.
“I believe she was touched by Mr. Loehr and those touches made her uncomfortable,” said Judge Stang, adding he wasn’t able to find Loehr guilty on those charges because the evidence and testimony of the witness must meet the highest standard.
Wynyard RCMP launched an historic sexual assault investigation against Loehr in February 2019 after a woman contacted them to report an assault that occurred in the 90s. Five others later came forward to police with sexual assault allegations against Loehr.
Loehr left Saskatchewan in 1996 and taught in Ottawa schools. In 2019 Ottawa Police Service charged Loehr with sexual assault and sexual interference against 11 students. Ottawa Police say Loehr taught middle school level music in the west end of Ottawa between 2000 and 2003. He also taught privately in his home. The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board removed him from the classroom. His trial on those charges is scheduled later this month in Ontario.
A date for Loehr’s sentencing on his Saskatchewan conviction will be set on Nov. 23.
Lisa Joy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter / Battlefords News-Optimist
Lisa Joy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist