Toronto teacher found guilty of sex offences with students, but his name can't be reported

A Toronto private school teacher has pleaded guilty to sex-related offences involving two students but due to a court order, neither the teacher's name nor that of the school he worked at can be reported.

CBC and The Globe and Mail challenged the publication ban on Thursday. The Ontario court judge, Justice James Chaffe, will make a decision later this month.

Issued in February in order to protect the identities of the victims, it also prevents the publication of the teacher's name and former school.

"It's outrageous. A publication ban on an accused name is rare and extraordinary. The public is entitled to know the names of individuals who've been charged criminally, especially some one who has been convicted of sex offences," said Iain MacKinnon, the lawyer representing CBC and The Globe and Mail.

The male teacher, 43, was found guilty Thursday of sexual interference, sexual exploitation and making child pornography.

The victims, aged 14 and 16 at the time of the crimes, were both in court and read victim impact statements.

'I struggle every day,' student tells court

"Someone I trusted deeply manipulated me," one victim said to the court.

"I struggle every day with trying to feel normal and secure in myself," the other victim said. 

Each told the court they are emotionally traumatized.

One victim said her family has had to spend thousands of dollars on her psychological therapy.

As each victim spoke the teacher kept his head down and, even as they looked his way, he never met their eyes.

The teacher, who is married with two young children, sobbed heavily and struggled through his remarks to the court.

"I was selfish, unkind and oblivious," the teacher said. "I etched horrible memories that can never be erased."

'Deviously cunning'

With behaviour described in court by Crown lawyer Patricia Garcia as "deviously cunning", the teacher "groomed [the students] to believe his conduct was normal."

According to an agreed statement of facts, the teacher exchanged increasingly flirtatious text messages with each of the students during relationships that occurred at different times.

In 2009, he was the teacher of one of the students and was hired by her parents as a tutor. The student attended weekly tutoring sessions at his home.

Sentencing set for July

For several months, the teacher kissed and fondled the student's body during these visits. The student was 14 at the time.

In 2012, the second victim returned to the teacher's school for a co-op placement. She was 16 at the time, according to the statement of facts.

After sending flirtatious text messages, the teacher persuaded the student to send him sexual photos and videos.

The court heard that in 2013 while the student was 17, she attended the teacher's home where he persuaded her to engage in sex acts.

With each student, the court heard, the teacher would urge them to stay silent about their relationships in order to not harm his family and children.

The teacher was arrested and charged by Toronto police in January 2016.

He is set to be sentenced in July. The crown is asking for a three-year prison term. The defence is arguing for a 16 month sentence.

trevor.dunn@cbc.ca