Ottawa teacher charged with sexual offences involving girls

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Ottawa police have charged a teacher with multiple sexual offences involving two girls under the age of 14, and say they're concerned there may be more victims.

Rick Watkins, 57, was charged Tuesday with three counts of sexual exploitation and three counts of sexual interference. At the time of the offences Watkins was known as Rick Despatie.

Watkins worked as a teacher with the Ottawa Catholic School Board (OCSB). According to police, the incidents involved two students and occurred between the fall of 2020 and March 2021.

The OCSB confirmed Watkins had been a teacher at St. Matthew High School in Orléans for the last 25 years. A board spokesperson told CBC Watkins was suspended on March 9, when the allegations came to light. In an emailed response, the board said the Ontario College of Teachers will be involved in its own investigation.

Ottawa police are asking anyone with information to contact them.