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PLEHANOV TRIAL: Girl didn't want Plehanov to get in trouble

Former School District 43 substitue teacher Aleskandr Plehanov. - CTV NEWS FILE PHOTO
Former School District 43 substitue teacher Aleskandr Plehanov.
— image credit: CTV NEWS FILE PHOTO

The mother of a third girl allegedly touched by Aleksandr Plehanov testified Thursday afternoon that her daughter was rubbed on the behind by the former Coquitlam substitute teacher.

The woman, who cannot be named due to a publication ban on identifying any of the alleged victims or their family members, said she learned of the alleged incident on March 12, 2010.

She had picked up her daughter from after-school care and said she was "very excited" because a friend, the younger sister of another alleged victim, had told her a secret — that the police had been to her house two nights ago.

"She said a substitute teacher was in trouble," the woman testified, adding it was a few minutes before she understood her daughter was talking about her own substitute teacher.

"She said he was in trouble for touching some of the girls," the woman said.

At that point, the mom testified, she stopped the conversation because her other two children were also in the car.

Once at home, she took her daughter aside and asked if the substitute teacher had touched her. Her daughter, who was eight years old and in Grade 3 at the time, said he had touched her "on the bum," the woman testified.

She asked her daughter if he had tapped her on the bum but the girl said, "No, he was rubbing my bum."

The woman asked her daughter to demonstrate on her. "She came over to me a rubbed my bum in a circular motion," the woman testified.

When the woman's husband came home later that night, they decided to discuss the matter with the school principal on Monday.

She testified that she talked to the vice-principal, who told her she should talk the police. As she was leaving, a Coquitlam RCMP officer arrived and, after speaking with her, said she should bring her daughter to the detachment that afternoon to make a formal statement.

The woman said her daughter had been "non-emotional" about her talk with the police but when she turned the lights out at bedtime that night, she became extremely upset.

"She cried and cried, it took two hours to calm her down," said the mother.

Crown counsel Wendy Van Tongeren Harvey asked if the girl was upset because of the alleged incident and subsequent interview with the police; the mother said that's what she assumed but "she was very fearful and upset that the substitute teacher was going to be in trouble."

"She said over and over again that she didn't want to get the substitute teacher in trouble and he was 'the nicest substitute teacher' she'd ever had."

The woman was expected to continue testifying Friday.

Aleksandr Plehanov is facing 10 charges of sexual assault and sexual interference involving girls who were aged seven and eight at the time. He is also facing a charge of criminal harassment.

The trial continues.

For more trial coverage, go here: Day 1 (and here), Day 2, Day 3. And for a story on how School District 43 is dealing with the trial, go here.

spayne@tricitynews.com

 

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