Former teacher granted bail while awaiting appeal of convictions for sexual assault, exploitation

·3 min read
Noel Strapp, shown here in provincial court in June, was granted bail Tuesday while he awaits an appeal into his sentence. (Ted Dillon/CBC - image credit)
Noel Strapp, shown here in provincial court in June, was granted bail Tuesday while he awaits an appeal into his sentence. (Ted Dillon/CBC - image credit)

Former high school teacher Noel Strapp has been granted bail while he awaits the result of the appeal of his sexual interference and sexual assault conviction.

Strapp appeared in the Court of Appeal in St. John's virtually from the Bishop's Falls Correctional Centre on Tuesday, and was granted bail under a series of conditions.

Strapp, 39, must remain on good behaviour, abstain from drugs and alcohol, avoid Memorial University and cannot have contact with anyone under the age of 18, except for his four children.

He must also avoid contact with the victim and her family and a number of other people, including some former students.

The identity of the victim is under a publication ban.

Strapp is required to check in with the RCMP once a week, live at a specific address and stay in Newfoundland and Labrador until his appeal is heard.

He paid $3,000 for bail, while three sureties have promised to supervise Strapp while he is out on bail and will have to pay $1,000 if he breaches his conditions.

The former teacher was convicted in February of sexually exploiting and sexually assaulting a teenage student he taught and coached. He was sentenced in June to four years for sexual interference and two years for sexual assault, to be served concurrently.

Lukas Wall/CBC
Lukas Wall/CBC

During the bail hearing, defence lawyer Ian Patey compared Strapp's situation to Royal Newfoundland Constabulary officer Doug Snelgrove, who was convicted last year of committing a serious sex crime while on duty and was granted bail.

Patey argued that the situations were similar enough to warrant Strapp being granted bail.

Justice Frances Knickle, however, replied that legal precedents are applied to sentences, not bail hearings, and that bail is considered on an individual basis.

The Crown argued that granting bail would harm public trust in the justice system, given the seriousness of Strapp's offense and his breach of trust.

The appeal of Strapp's conviction now rests on inconsistencies in the victim's testimony and the consideration of evidence in the trial.

In the notice of appeal, Patey clamed Judge Phyllis Harris judge reviewed Strapp's evidence more strictly than the victim's and failed to consider an alleged sex tape.

During Strapp's trial, the former female student told the court that a sexual relationship between her and Strapp began when she was 16 and while he was her teacher and coach in several sports.

She told the court the two had about 100 sexual interactions. They happened while at school, at Strapp's home, in his children's rooms and in his car, she said.

The woman also told the court that while she was in grades 11 and 12, she and Strapp exchanged sexual pictures and videos using Snapchat, an app that deletes messages once they're read by the person receiving them.

She also testified that as her coach, Strapp enforced a strict training regimen and nutrition plan that she said was a way to control her and manipulate her for his own sexual gain. He claimed it was just part of the work required to become an elite athlete.

A date has not yet been set to hear Strapp's appeal.

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