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PLEHANOV TRIAL: Mother testifies she saw Plehanov's car outside her home

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 Bramblewood elementary school student allegedly touched by a substitute teacher in October 2009 broke down on the stand Monday when she recalled the afternoon she saw the accused's car outside her home.

Testifying at the trial of Aleksandr Plehanov Monday afternoon, the woman said she was at home on the afternoon of June 8, 2010 when she saw a man wearing a baseball cap sitting in a dark-coloured BMW outside her Coquitlam home. About a week earlier, she had been told by her neighbour and the Bramblewood elementary principal that the neighbour spotted Plehanov near her home.

"She said she had seen Mr. P and she wasn't able to get the licence plate but she saw him get into the BMW," the woman testified. As a result, when she noticed the BMW outside on June 8, she called 911.

Her voice breaking, the woman testified, "I was distressed, I was scared. I was angry, I was shocked and I feared for my family and my daughter."

Fearing for her safety, the woman said, she called her neighbour and asked him to join her outside so she could get the licence plate number of the BMW. As they were standing outside, the neighbour's wife came out and said, "Yes, that's him," before taking a photo on her phone, at which point the car sped off.

At the time, Plehanov was the owner of a 2002 black BMW sedan, the court heard.

Defence lawyer Lisa Jean Helps suggested the woman hadn't seen the driver's full face because the car was facing west, into the sun, and he was wearing a baseball cap. She also offered that the mother thought the alleged touching was a "classroom management issue," a statement the woman disagreed with.

Her daughter told her that her "fun" substitute teacher had let her be his "special helper" and twice had her sit on his lap. The girl, who was eight years old and in Grade 2 at the time, said that Mr. P had rubbed her tummy underneath her shirt as well as under the waistline of her pants, which she felt was "weird."

The woman agreed with Helps' statement that she thought the school principal and school board would bring the matter to police. She said that, as a high school teacher in another district, that's what she understood the protocol to be when a child is in danger.

It was another five months, however, before Coquitlam RCMP were called by the parents of an alleged victim from Glen elementary; two more girls from the same class there came forward that week in March 2010.

The woman's daughter began her testimony Monday afternoon and was expected to continue Tuesday.

Plehanov is facing five sexual interference and five sexual assault charges, as well as one charge of criminal harassment.

The trial continues.

spayne@tricitynews.com

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