Governing Ourselves

Governing Ourselves informs members of legal and regulatory matters affecting the profession. This section provides updates on licensing and qualification requirements, notification of Council resolutions and reports from various Council committees, including reports on accreditation and discipline matters.

HEARINGS

Three-member panels of the Discipline Committee conduct public hearings into cases of alleged incompetence or professional misconduct. The panels are a mix of elected and appointed Council members.

Members found guilty of incompetence or professional misconduct may have their certificate revoked, suspended or limited. In professional misconduct matters only, the committee may also reprimand, admonish or counsel the member, impose a fine, order the member to pay costs or publish the order in Professionally Speaking.

Discipline Committee panels have ordered that summaries of these recent disciplinary cases be published in Professionally Speaking. Copies of the full decisions are available at www.oct.ca Investigations & Hearings Disciplinary Decisions.

Also available online are decisions and memorandums of agreement ratified by Investigation Committee panels that explicitly stipulate that documents will be made available through the College’s library or Quicklaw, a legal subscription service, or other means.


Member: C. Robert Clements
Registration number: 266425
Decision: Revoked

A Discipline Committee panel ordered the Registrar to revoke the certificate of C. Robert Clements for sexually assaulting a 15-year-old male.

Clements, who joined the teaching profession in June 1964, did not attend the August 25, 2011 hearing and was not represented.

The panel heard evidence that, in January 2009, Clements invited the boy to his home where he fondled the boy. Subsequently, Clements was found guilty of sexual assault in criminal court and sentenced to 12 months probation. As well, he was ordered not to contact the boy or his family, not to be in the presence of anyone under 16 except with the child’s parent(s) present, not to possess any weapons for 10 years and to attend treatment and counselling.

Having considered the evidence, the Discipline Committee panel found the member guilty of professional misconduct and directed the Registrar to revoke his Certificate of Qualification and Registration.

“The member engaged in inappropriate and unprofessional conduct with the student while that student was under his care and supervision,” the panel said. “The member’s conduct is disgraceful and unbecoming a member of the profession. Revocation is the appropriate penalty for misconduct of this severity and protects the public interest.”

A notation regarding the revocation appears on the member’s certificate online at www.oct.ca .



Member: Johannes Albert Heller
Registration number: 275452
Decision: Revoked

A Discipline Committee panel ordered the Registrar to revoke the certificate of Thames Valley DSB secondary school teacher Johannes Albert Heller for sexually assaulting young males and making and accessing child pornography.

Heller joined the teaching profession in June 1996. He did not attend the August 25, 2011 hearing and was not represented.

In December 2010, Heller pleaded guilty in criminal court to sexually touching a person under the age of 16, making child pornography, inviting a young person to touch his body for a sexual purpose and committing sexual assault. He was sentenced to six years in jail, and other conditions were imposed, including an order prohibiting him from possessing firearms for 10 years.

The school board fired Heller in January 2011.

Having considered the evidence, onus and standard of proof and the submission of College counsel, the Discipline Committee panel found Heller guilty of professional misconduct and directed the Registrar to revoke his Certificate of Qualification and Registration.

“Although the young male was not a student of the member, the committee affirms that the pattern of grooming behaviour evident through the use of drugs, alcohol and pornography represents a threat to students who may be in the member’s care,” the panel said.

“The committee finds that that member who is convicted of sexual assault and accessing and making child pornography is not suitable to be in a position of trust and authority over children. He has entirely failed in that trust and is considered by the courts of Ontario to have broken laws that protect the young and is incarcerated as a result of these convictions. This member should not be permitted to teach in Ontario.”

A notation regarding the revocation appears on the member’s certificate online at www.oct.ca .


Member: Joanne Marie Sylvie Léger-Legault
Registration Number: 185327
Decision: Revoked

A Discipline Committee panel ordered the Registrar to revoke the certificate of Ottawa-Carleton DSB secondary school teacher Joanne Marie Sylvie Léger-Legault for her inappropriate relations with four male students, including intimate sexual relationships with two.

Léger-Legault, who joined the teaching profession in June 1992, had legal counsel attend the hearing, which was conducted on May 25 and September 27, 2011, on her behalf.

Between 2001 and 2005, Léger-Legault transported students in her car, met with them outside school, discussed personal issues, exchanged text messages and emails of an inappropriate personal nature, kissed one student on the lips and had intimate sexual relationships with two students.

Having considered the evidence, onus and standard of proof and legal submissions, the Discipline Committee panel found Léger-Legault guilty of professional misconduct and directed the Registrar to revoke her Certificate of Qualification and Registration.

“The committee finds that, over a period of four years, the member engaged in inappropriate behaviour involving four students, including sexual abuse of three of those students,” the panel said. “The conduct of the member was unacceptable, in conflict with the duty of a teacher and a breach of the public trust. The member has forfeited the privilege of holding a teaching certificate and membership in the teaching profession.”

A notation regarding the revocation appears on the member’s certificate online at www.oct.ca .


Member: Not identified
Decision: Reprimand, conditions

A Discipline Committee panel reprimanded a Toronto DSB teacher for using inappropriate language and physical discipline with students.

The member, who joined the teaching profession in August 1998, attended the November 8, 2011 public hearing with legal counsel.

Between 2002 and 2006, the member made inappropriate comments and used physical discipline on a number of occasions, resulting in two letters of discipline from his principal. Then, in another instance, the member picked up a student under the arm, which, when the student resisted, resulted in the student falling and hitting his head. Consequently, the member received another letter of discipline. The board fired the member in February 2007 but reinstated him in June 2008.

Having considered the evidence, a plea of no contest, a statement of uncontested facts, and a joint submission on penalty, the Discipline Committee panel found the member guilty of professional misconduct.

The member was ordered to face the panel to receive a reprimand and to complete a course in classroom management at his own expense.

Among its comments, the panel said, “The member exercised unreasonable approaches to disciplining students in his care. [He] jokingly told a student, ‘Why don’t you just run away?’ which was an inappropriate comment to make to a young and impressionable student.”

A notation regarding the reprimand and the conditions appears on the member’s certificate online at www.oct.ca .


Member: Mark Christopher Baggio
Registration number: 421255
Decision: Revocation

A Discipline Committee panel revoked the teaching certificate of Windsor-Essex Catholic DSB teacher Mark Christopher Baggio for criminal convictions involving sexual assault, sexual exploitation and communicating with a person under 18 for the purpose of facilitating the commission of an offence, affecting two female students.

Baggio was certified to teach in August 1998. He was not present at the October 18, 2011 hearing, nor was he represented.

Between January 2000 and January 2004, Baggio groomed and engaged in a sexual relationship with one student. In an overlapping period between September 2002 and May 2005, he systematically groomed and engaged in a sexual relationship with another female student at the school. According to the evidence, he befriended the students and participated in inappropriate communications with them, including thousands of telephone calls and almost 100 retrieved e-mails. Many of the phone calls were made between 9 PM and 6 AM. The communications became increasingly sexual in nature and led to kissing, fondling, oral sex and sexual intercourse, often occurring several times a week and in various locations, including at the school, in Baggio’s car and at his home. The board fired him in February 2006.

On January 8, 2009, Baggio was sentenced to four years in jail. His appeal of the sentence was dismissed on January 25, 2011.

Having considered the evidence, onus and standard of proof and the submissions of College counsel, the Discipline Committee panel found Baggio guilty of professional misconduct and ordered the Registrar to revoke his Certificate of Qualification and Registration.

“[Baggio’s] abuse of these two students, who were both under the age of 18 years, was solely for his personal sexual gratification,” the Discipline Committee panel said. “He breached his position of trust as a teacher and a coach. The abuse perpetrated by the member was not a single random act, but rather was a premeditated frequent pattern of abuse extending over a period of three or four years. The lack of any evidence of remorse demonstrates his disregard for the harm that his crimes have caused the two students and their families.

“Revocation serves the purposes of denouncing unprofessional conduct, deterring members of the profession from engaging in similar misconduct, and protecting students in the future.”

A notation regarding the revocation appears on the member’s certificate online at www.oct.ca .



Member: Not identified
Decision: Counselled

A Discipline Committee panel found a Simcoe County DSB elementary teacher guilty of professional misconduct and ordered him to appear before the panel to be counselled for a kicking incident.

The member, who joined the teaching profession in June 1992, attended the November 1, 2011 public hearing with legal counsel.

While on supervisory lunch duty in May 2009, the member entered a portable classroom and saw that students’ shoes had not been placed against the wall as he had previously instructed. The member kicked the shoes, some of which landed outside the classroom. In so doing, the member’s foot connected with a male Grade 4 student. The student said he fell and suffered minor scraping to his mid-to-lower back as a result.

Having considered the evidence, a plea of no contest, a statement of uncontested facts and a joint submission on penalty, the Discipline Committee panel found the member guilty of professional misconduct. The member was ordered to face the panel to be counselled.

Explaining its decision, the panel said the 19-year veteran teacher had not appeared before the committee previously and had completed a course in behaviour management, and that the incident was of a “minor nature.”

www.oct.ca



Member: Not identified
Decision: Counselled, conditions

A Discipline Committee panel found a Toronto DSB intermediate level teacher guilty of professional misconduct for unprofessional behaviour in the school office in front of students and staff.

The member, who joined the teaching profession in June 1991, attended the October 31, 2011 public hearing with legal counsel.

In October 2007, the member asked a female student to deliver a male student’s belongings to him after he had been transferred to another homeroom. The male student became angry when he discovered that one of the items was soiled and tried twice to visit the member’s classroom to find out how it had happened. During one of the visits, the student, in a display of anger, spilled the contents of a garbage can on the classroom floor.

On returning to the classroom and finding the spill, the member commented about the male student’s conduct to another teacher who was present in the classroom. One or more students who were also present may have overheard the comment.

Later, the boy confronted the member in the hallway and accused him, in the presence of a female student, of referring to him as a “nigger.” The member denied it and sought immediate help from the office. The member told the girl to come with him to the office. The male student followed.

At the office, the member demanded in a loud voice that the vice-principal tell him what the administration would do to address the boy’s continued behaviour. The member also demanded in a loud voice that the girl confirm what the boy had said to him in the hallway. During the exchange, the member became upset and repeated the boy’s comment to the vice-principal in front of the girl, the boy and staff in the office.

The Toronto Police and the Children’s Aid Society investigated and determined that no further action was necessary because the member’s behaviour was not criminal in nature and there had been no physical assault.

The board suspended the member for five days without pay, discontinued his teacher-mentor coach position in the family of schools and directed him to attend anger management and equity training.

The member grieved the board’s disciplinary actions, and the suspension was reduced to one day. The member continued to teach at the school until June 2011. In September, he began teaching at another elementary school in the board.

Having considered the evidence, a plea of no contest, a statement of uncontested facts, a joint submission on penalty and the submission of legal counsel, the Discipline Committee panel found the member guilty of professional misconduct. The member was ordered to face the panel to be counselled. He was also directed to complete, at his own expense, a course in anger management with a particular emphasis on positive discipline strategies and the defusing of aggressive and negative student behaviours and attitudes.

“Publication, without the name of the member, will provide general deterrence in that members of the profession will be made aware of how an isolated event can affect a longstanding career,” the panel said in its decision.

“The committee accepted that publication with name would unduly punish the member. The member has had a long successful career and this incident was an isolated event. The behaviour was on the low end of the scale.”

A notation about professional misconduct will appear on the member’s certificate online at www.oct.ca



Member: Michael Wayne Plews
Registration number: 253860
Decision: Revocation

A Discipline Committee panel revoked the teaching certificate of Peel DSB elementary teacher Michael Wayne Plews in connection with a criminal conviction for common assault against three female students.

Plews was first certified to teach in June 1983. He did not attend the November 1, 2011 hearing but was represented by legal counsel.

In April 2007, Plews was charged with three counts of common assault against three students and was found guilty in January 2011. He was sentenced to 10 months in jail to be served on a conditional basis. In April 2011, he resigned from the board.

Having considered the evidence, the Discipline Committee panel found Plews guilty of professional misconduct and ordered the Registrar to revoke his Certificate of Qualification and Registration.

“[Plews] engaged in inappropriate physical contact with three female students, which resulted in subsisting physical injuries and long term emotional harm as evidenced by the victim impact statements,” the panel said. “The conduct included tickling, wrestling, inappropriate touching without consent, rough housing, ‘manhandling’ and shoving these students.

“In his reasons for judgment, Mr. Justice Hill, in referring to the victim impact statements, noted that the students spoke collectively of ‘broken trust, anger, humiliation, self-blame and manipulation. ”
A notation regarding the revocation appears on Plews’s certificate online at www.oct.ca .


Clarification:
The December 2011 issue of Professionally Speaking reported on the Discipline Committee decision involving Silvio Joseph Tallevi. The summary suggested that Tallevi advised the school principal of the details of the bathroom assault of the student. While it is Tallevi’s position that he advised the principal of these details, it is the school principal’s position that he did not. The College regrets any confusion caused by the summary.