Former violin teacher convicted of sexual assault-related charges to be sentenced March 2

A violin teacher convicted of multiple sexual assault-related charges will receive a sentencing decision on March 2. 

Claude Trachy heard the impact statements of several of his victims on Monday, during a sentencing hearing in a Chatham, Ont. court.

Trachy repeatedly asked his young, female students to take off their tops in order to measure them for shoulder rests between the 1970s and 1990s.

Multiple students had previously testified that Trachy had touched their breasts, had them remove their blouses and bras and play with their exposed breasts. In some instances, the former students testified plastic moulds had been taken of their breasts, though he did not do this with his male students.

On Monday, Trachy heard as one of those victims told the court how the assault led to social anxiety, feelings of unworthiness, self-loathing and challenges with sexuality.

"You failed me as a violin teacher," said one victim. "But you did teach me ... You taught me to never trust anyone. You taught me that I can never feel safe."

Another victim said the emotional impact of the trial has been tremendous, adding that she has since been diagnosed with anxiety and depression.

Many of the women in court brought photos of themselves from the time of the assault, some referring to themselves as "warrior women."

In late July, the Ontario Court of Appeal reversed a decision made by a court in Chatham to acquit Trachy of 51 charges of sexual assault, sexual interference, sexual exploitation and indecent assault. 

The trial judge had acquitted Trachy because he believed there was no sexual intent. In July, the Court of Appeal said the trial judge erred, as sexual intent was a factor and convicted the former teacher.

In August, Trachy appealed the conviction, but withdrew his appeal in October. 

Trachy's defence addressed the court on Monday, saying Trachy led an "exemplary personal life" and that he was actively involved in his community as a teacher and concert master.

The defence also told court Trachy had shown remorse for his actions, and that according to a pre-sentence report, he is at a low risk to reoffend. 

During Monday's court hearing, the Crown spoke in favour of a five-year sentence, arguing that a three-year probation sentence would be "demonstrably unfit" given the circumstances of the case. 

Speaking before the court, Trachy asked for forgiveness and leniency, while also asking not to be separated from his wife. 

"It's been a prison for me for the last four and a half years," he said. "My family has suffered. We need closure."

Trachy also defended his use of shoulder rests, saying that he found new approaches that hadn't been done before. 

Nonetheless, he apologized for "fitting those rests the way I did."

Trachy declined to offer comment when asked by CBC News.