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Plehanov visited psychologist to help with 'boundary issues'

School District 43 provided a psychologist to substitute teacher Aleksandr Plehanov to help him with his
School District 43 provided a psychologist to substitute teacher Aleksandr Plehanov to help him with his 'boundary issues' more than a month before he was arrested for sexual interference and sexual assault.
— image credit: TRI-CITY NEWS FILE PHOTO

School District 43 provided a psychologist to substitute teacher Aleksandr Plehanov to help him with his "boundary issues" more than a month before he was arrested for sexual interference and sexual assault.

Concerns about the Coquitlam substitute teacher's classroom behaviour were raised five months before his eventual arrest after a student alleged that he had touched her inappropriately.

Last Friday, the court heard that in October 2009, a seven-year-old Bramblewood elementary student alleged that the Burnaby resident rubbed her stomach under her shirt after he pulled her on his lap.

A Feb. 1, 2010 letter to Plehanov from Jamie Ross, the district's director of human resources, stated that a psychologist would work with the teacher on his "boundary issues." It also said that a district co-ordinator would provide support to help with Plehanov's classroom management skills.

Last month, Bramblewood elementary principal Brenda Walker said she considered the 2009 accusations against the substitute teacher to be a "serious situation" but did not call the police because once he had left the school, the students were no longer in danger.

But while Plehanov was cited for misconduct, the school board concluded that there was no assault or sexual impropriety and he was allowed to continue teaching after the incident.

The police did not become involved until March 2010, when a parent from Glen elementary phoned Coquitlam RCMP alleging that Plehanov had touched her daughter inappropriately.

An Eagle Ridge student, a Grade 3 girl, also testified earlier in the trial that Plehanov asked her to sit in his lap by patting the top of his legs. He then "gently toucher her," indicating he'd wrapped his arms around her waist and touched her chest and lower pelvic area.

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. He is also facing a charge of criminal harassment.

The trial is expected to continue in July.

gmckenna@tricitynews.com

-with files from Sarah Payne

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