PLEHANOV TRIAL: Two girls say they sat in teacher's lap
Two girls testified at Aleksandr Plehanov's trial Wednesday that the former substitute teacher had them sit on his lap.
The first one, an eight-year-old Grade 2 student at Bramblewood elementary at the time of the alleged incident in October 2009, described "Mr. P" as a "fun teacher because he didn't make us do much work."
In her videotaped statement to police, which was played in court, the girl said Plehanov picked her up by the waist and put her on his lap. She also said she saw him do the same to two other girls.
Under cross-examination by defence lawyer Lisa Jean Helps the girl admitted it was difficult to remember the events of that day more than two years ago.
The other girl, a Grade 3 student at Eagle Ridge elementary at the time of the alleged incident in January 2008, also said in her videotaped statement to police that the class spent the day playing games.
She told the officer that Plehanov asked her to sit in his lap by patting the top of his legs and then "gently touched" her, indicating he'd wrapped his arms around her waist and touched her chest and lower pelvic area.
She didn't tell anyone at the time, she said in the statement, because she "didn't know what it meant or that it was bad."
Her mother also testified Wednesday, saying she didn't know anything had happened with her daughter until she got a call from the school's principal in the spring of 2010.
The woman told her daughter about the allegations against Plehanov and described him as a "bad teacher, a bad man." The girl responded by saying, "That's why he touched me like that."
Plehanov is facing five charges of sexual interference and five charges of sexual assault involving girls who were aged seven and eight at the time of the alleged incidents, which date back to January 2008. He is also facing a charge of criminal harassment.
The trial continues.