Three-member panels of the Discipline Committee conduct public hearings into cases of alleged incompetence or professional misconduct. Panels are composed of elected and appointed Council members. The certificate of a member found to be incompetent or guilty of professional misconduct may be revoked, suspended, and/or made subject to terms, conditions or limitations. In findings of professional misconduct, the committee may also reprimand, admonish or counsel the member, impose a fine, and order the member to pay costs.
Summaries of recent disciplinary cases are published on the following pages. Copies of the full decisions are available at oct.ca → Members → Complaints and Discipline → Decisions.
The College publishes professional advisories, available at oct-oeeo.ca/ advisories, which are intended to inform members’ professional judgment and practice. For more information about the Ethical Standards for the Teaching Profession, please visit oct-oeeo.ca/ethical.
Member: Alexander Clachers
Registration No: 286959
A Discipline Committee panel revoked the Certificate of Qualification and Registration of Alexander Clachers, a teacher with the Kawartha Pine Ridge DSB, in connection with a criminal conviction for sexual interference, sexual assault and sexual exploitation of seven victims between the ages of 11 and 20. Five of Clacher’s victims were his current and former students.
Clachers, who was certified to teach in 1998, did not attend the hearing on September 18, 2013, and was not represented by legal counsel.
From 2004 and 2009, the member worked as a Grade 9–12 secondary school teacher. During his employment, Clachers sexually assaulted, exploited and interfered with four male students and one female student. These activities included his inviting students to spend the night at his house, making inappropriate sexual remarks, and repeatedly touching his students’ buttocks and genitals. These assaults happened in the classroom, at the member’s house, in a hotel and elsewhere in the community.
In October 2009, a Superior Court of Justice jury found Clachers guilty of 15 sex offences, which included seven counts of sexual assault, seven counts of sexual exploitation and one count of sexual interference. He was criminally convicted and, in October 2010, the court sentenced Clachers to 10 years in a federal prison.
In its written decision, the panel agreed with Superior Court Justice Corkery’s statement that “Adult sexual predators who would put the lives of innocent children at risk in order to satisfy their deviant sexual needs must know that they will pay a heavy price.”
Having considered the evidence, the onus and standard of proof, and submissions of College counsel, the panel found Clachers guilty of professional misconduct and ordered the Registrar to revoke his certificate.
Member: William Clarke
Registration No: 247756
A Discipline Committee panel revoked the certificate of Peel DSB vice-principal William Clarke for pursuing and engaging in personal and physical relationships with a school employee, a teacher and a student. Clarke also used a school computer to view dating, chat and pornographic websites.
Clarke, who was certified to teach in 1983, did not attend the hearing on September 24, 2013, nor was he represented by legal counsel.
The panel heard evidence that, between 2007 and 2009, Clarke used his position of authority and trust to prey on three females who were particularly vulnerable. When they turned to Clarke for professional advice, personal guidance or assistance, he exploited his position as vice-principal to begin a process of seduction.
For example, in 2008, a student at the school approached Clarke when she “needed help” and “didn’t know where else to turn.” Within weeks of their first conversation, Clarke regularly pulled the student out of class to talk, made flirtatious remarks and began sending her “a litany” of sexually charged emails. Shortly after she graduated, they had intercourse twice in Clarke’s car and once at the school.
The panel also heard evidence that Clarke pursued a personal relationship with a young teacher preparing for the principal’s qualification program, and a personal and physical relationship with a part-time staff member who was new to the school. In both cases, there was an escalation of contact. Inappropriate sexual comments led to attempts at physical contact, and much to the staff member’s regret, sexual activity. The teacher and the staff member reported Clarke’s behaviour to the board, saying they were uncomfortable with the unwanted attention but “felt trapped,” “powerless” and didn’t want to jeopardize their jobs or careers. As a result of the complaints, the board investigated the matter. Clarke resigned in June 2009 prior to the school board meeting to fire him.
Having considered the evidence, onus and standard of proof, and the submissions by College counsel, the panel found Clarke guilty of professional misconduct and ordered his Certificate of Qualification and Registration be revoked.
In its written decision, the panel said that a member “who abuses, to this level, a position of authority and responsibility ceases to maintain the privilege of teaching.”
Member: Hugues Joseph Marcel Latour
Registration No: 510227
A Discipline Committee panel revoked the Certificate of Qualification and Registration of Hugues Latour for grooming and subsequently having sexual intercourse with a student, which resulted in the birth of a child.
Latour was certified to teach in Ontario in 2007. At the time of the allegations, he was employed in the Northwest Territories (NWT) where he held an interim professional teaching certificate. The matter came before the College on January 22, 2013, and continued on June 3, 2013. Latour did not attend the hearings, nor was he represented by legal counsel.
The panel heard evidence that Latour engaged in grooming behaviour to initiate a close and inappropriate relationship with a female student. During the 2009 school year, he encouraged the student to join activities he supervised and to participate in a three- or four-night field trip together. He gave her private tutorials and allowed her to work alone in his classroom. Shortly after she graduated, Latour invited her to his apartment where they drank wine and began a sexual relationship. The relationship continued and the student subsequently gave birth to the member’s son.
In August 2010, a hearing committee of the NWT Ministry of Education found Latour guilty of professional misconduct and instructed the Registrar to cancel his NWT teaching certificate. Latour appealed the committee’s decision in December 2012, long after the 30-day time limit to submit an appeal had passed. The committee rejected his request for a new hearing.
In its written finding, the NWT committee stated, “There cannot be a distinction between a sexual relationship that occurs two weeks before graduation between a teacher and a student, and a sexual relationship that occurs two weeks after graduation between the same two people.” The Ontario College of Teachers’ Discipline Committee agreed with the NWT committee’s finding, adding that the member’s behaviour was proof of “flagrant negligence with respect to the risk and danger to which he exposed the student.”
Having considered the evidence, the onus and standard of proof, and submissions of College counsel, the panel found Latour guilty of professional misconduct and ordered the Registrar to revoke his certificate.
Member: Allester Gerard Ashley Macedo
Registration No: 206895
A Discipline Committee panel ordered that the certificate of Dufferin-Peel Catholic DSB teacher Allester Macedo be revoked for sexually abusing a student while they were in the classroom.
The member, who was certified to teach in 1995, attended the public hearing on October 16, 2013, and was self-represented.
The panel heard evidence that in May 2009, Macedo supervised an in-class test during the last school period. When the bell rang, most students handed in their tests and left. About 10 students, who needed additional time, stayed behind, including a female student who was struggling academically. As the remaining students finished the test, they also exited until only Macedo, the female student and one of her classmates were left in the classroom.
At this point, Macedo approached the female student and pinched and kissed her cheek. After the second student left, Macedo kissed the female student a number of times, hugged her, and ran his hand down quickly toward her backside. Macedo told the student that he loved her and asked if she loved him. After the exchange, the student left the class, almost an hour after the school day had ended. In the hallway, Macedo told the student that what had happened was their secret.
Regional police subsequently charged Macedo with sexual assault and sexual exploitation. In February 2011, a criminal court found Macedo guilty and sentenced him to 90 days in jail and two years of probation for sexual exploitation. A conditional stay was entered with respect to the charge of sexual assault. In May 2012, a Superior Court of Justice dismissed Macedo’s appeal of the conviction and sentence.
Having considered the evidence, onus and standard of proof, and the submissions of College counsel and the member, the panel found Macedo guilty of professional misconduct and ordered that his Certificate of Qualification and Registration be revoked.
“Despite being found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, the member continues to deny any transgression,” wrote the panel. “Revocation serves as both a specific and general deterrent as removing the member from the classroom protects students and restores public confidence in the profession.”
Member: Name withheld
A Discipline Committee panel reprimanded a Peel DSB teacher for speaking to and treating students inappropriately.
The member, who was certified to teach in 1976, attended the public hearing on September 30, 2013, with legal counsel.
The panel heard evidence that in February and March 2009, the member made inappropriate comments in class, including calling his students “idiots” and “low-life.” The school board and school administrators met with the member to discuss his behaviour and gave him a letter of discipline requiring him to undergo sensitivity training, which he completed in April 2009.
In June 2011, the school board met with the member again about his classroom behaviour, for reading student marks out publicly and saying “this person is not going to go anywhere.” He also told his class he didn’t care if they failed as he got a raise each year. When students weren’t listening to his lesson, the member yelled at them, threw chalk and pencils, and walked out of the classroom in frustration. The member received a second letter of discipline and completed two courses on classroom management and boundaries.
Having examined the evidence and based on a memorandum of agreement (MOA), a plea of no contest, a joint submission on resolution, and submissions from legal counsel, the panel found the member guilty of professional misconduct and ratified the MOA. It determined that a reprimand was the appropriate penalty, accepting that the member had retired from the profession in 2012 and this was the first time in a 35-year career he faced allegations of professional misconduct.
In its written statement, the panel noted, “The reprimand by his peers, will inform the member that his conduct was unacceptable and inappropriate while reinforcing the importance of maintaining the highest standards of the profession.” The panel further stated, “The profession will be made aware that similar conduct is not acceptable and will not be tolerated.”
Member: Kenneth John J. O’Keefe
Registration No: 355795
A Discipline Committee panel revoked the certificate of Ottawa Catholic SB secondary school teacher Kenneth John J. O’Keefe for sexually abusing a male student.
O’Keefe, who joined the teaching profession in 1955, did not attend the hearing on August 27, 2013, but was represented by legal counsel.
From September 1 to December 1, 1974, O’Keefe was the student’s homeroom teacher and a member of the order of the Basilian Fathers. During that time, the student had an argument with his parents and spoke to O’Keefe about it. O’Keefe, who had always told his students that he was available if they needed someone to talk to, invited the student to stay overnight at his home. When the student arrived, there was only one bed. Although the student said he would sleep on the floor, the member encouraged him to share the bed. That night, the student awoke to find the member lying naked beside him, pushing his penis between the student’s underwear and buttocks. At the same time, O’Keefe was touching the student’s genitals.
In September 2012, in criminal court, O’Keefe pleaded guilty to and was convicted of indecent assault. He was given a ninemonth conditional sentence, which included six months of house arrest. In addition, the court prohibited the member, for life, from being in the presence of anyone under the age of 16. This included seeking volunteer or employment opportunities where he might be in a position of trust or authority, and from using a computer system to communicate with anyone under 16. The member has not appealed the conviction or the sentence.
Having considered the evidence, the onus and standard of proof, and the submissions of counsel, the panel found O’Keefe guilty of professional misconduct and ordered his Certificate of Qualification and Registration be revoked. The panel agreed that full publication with name was warranted and necessary.
While the incident occurred 39 years ago and the member is long retired, “Sexual assault on a student is considered to be one of the most severe types of professional misconduct and the committee should communicate strongly that this behaviour will not be tolerated,” said the panel in its written decision.
“General deterrence remains an important consideration,” they continued. “Teachers must know that they are held to a very high standard and that failure to adhere to the standard will result in the College’s most severe penalty.”
Member: Jacques René Joseph Perron
Registration No: 104771
A Discipline Committee panel ordered that the certificate of former principal of the Conseil scolaire de district catholique des Aurores boréales, Jacques René Joseph Perron, be revoked.
Perron was certified to teach in 1990. He attended the hearings between November 21, 2011, and August 7, 2013, and was represented by legal counsel. He pleaded not guilty to the allegations brought against him.
Perron faced seven allegations of professional misconduct related to his repeated abuse of authority, lack of judgment and disregard for the welfare of his students. Specifically, he failed to notify the Children’s Aid Society that Pierre Grondin, a school employee, sexually abused an intellectually challenged male student over several years. The panel heard evidence that Perron repeatedly ignored allegations of abuse from parents and staff. For example, the school bus driver informed Perron she overheard students saying they had seen Grondin naked on a class field trip. A week later, he lied to her about investigating the matter and said that “nothing serious occurred.” In addition to deliberately “turning a blind eye” to protect Grondin, the panel heard that Perron allowed him to continue working despite reports of Grondin’s chronic absenteeism, sleeping on the job and use of abusive language toward other staff members.
Between June 2003 and March 2006, Perron mismanaged school funds and records, and “fostered a climate of intimidation, manipulation, retaliation, threats and criticism with respect to staff members, school board members, parents and students.” For example, staff members were actively discouraged from registering complaints and described the school as having “an absolutely toxic and unbearable atmosphere.” The supervisory officer for the school board reported major shortcomings in the school’s administration including student access to pornographic sites via school computers, unfair hiring practices, and incomplete criminal record checks and staff evaluations. Furthermore, Perron claimed expenses during a paid leave of absence and approved significant hours of overtime to favourite staff members saying that “the Ministry of Education always makes up the deficits.”
Having considered the evidence, onus and standard of proof, and the submissions of counsel, the panel found Perron guilty of professional misconduct and ordered that his Certificate of Qualification and Registration be revoked.
Member: Randy Stuart Ward
Registration No: 449418
Decision: Reprimand, conditions, suspension (if conditions are not met)
A Discipline Committee panel reprimanded Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic DSB teacher Randy Ward for talking to and physically touching female students inappropriately.
Ward was certified to teach in 2001. He attended hearings on November 6, 7, 8 and December 18, 2012, and was represented by legal counsel. Ward also attended the penalty hearing on September 16, 2013.
During the 2008–09 school year, Ward often allowed his current and former students to hang out in his classroom to socialize. This involved four female students who were in his class or who stopped by frequently to talk to him. Witnesses testified that, on several occasions, Ward called them “sexy,” “beautiful” and “pretty,” hugged them, and touched or tapped them on or near their buttocks. On Valentine’s Day, he presented one of the students with a rose and cookies. Ward’s behaviour made the students feel uncomfortable to the point where they reported the incidents to the school youth worker. The school board fired Ward in September 2009.
In its written decision, the panel said that Ward displayed a “serious lack of professional judgment” and clearly breached appropriate teacher-student boundaries.
Having considered the evidence, onus and standard of proof, and the submissions of legal counsel, the panel found Ward guilty of professional misconduct. Ward was ordered to appear before the panel to receive a reprimand and to complete, at his own expense, two courses covering classroom management, appropriate boundaries and boundary violation issues. These courses must be pre-approved by the Registrar. If Ward fails to fulfill these terms, conditions or limitations within 150 days of the date of the written penalty decision, the Registrar is directed to suspend his Certificate of Qualification and Registration for three months.
Copies of the full decisions are available at oct-oeeo.ca/decisions.