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PLEHANOV TRIAL: Principal outlines internal investigation

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

Taking the stand at the Aleksandr Plehanov trial Tuesday afternoon, Bramblewood elementary principal Brenda Walker outlined the investigation undertaken by the school after allegations that a substitute teacher had inappropriately touched a student in October 2009.

Walker was contacted by the mother a Grade 2 student, who had reported the teacher had made her his "special helper" and had her sit on his lap. She also said he rubbed her stomach underneath her shirt.

Walker worked with Jamie Ross, director of human resources at School District 43, to draft a letter notifying Plehanov he was under investigation, which was given to him at a meeting on Oct. 15. At that point Walker was authorized to begin the investigation, which started with her interviewing eight children on Oct. 16.

A second round of interviews was done Oct. 21 with Walker and another HR staff member from the district, using a list of questions from Ross.

Walker and Ross then booked psychologist Dr. Michael Elterman to come to the school and interview the alleged victim and a witness, as well as speak to their parents.

The internal investigation came to a close in January 2010, Walker testified. Plehanov was given the results — which can't be released due to privacy legislation — at a school board meeting that month.

All that's known is the school district took some form of disciplinary action against Plehanov and reported it to the BC College of Teachers, though he was allowed to continue teaching.

Walker is expected to be cross-examined by defence lawyer Lisa Jean Helps on Thursday, when Ross will also be testifying on the school board's role in the investigation.

Plehanov is charged with five counts of sexual interference and five counts of sexual assault involving five girls, all aged seven or eight, from four different schools. The alleged incidents date back to 2008.

Plehanov also faces a criminal harassment charge in relation to a June 2010 incident.

 

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