A former Tri-City teacher who served jail time for sexual assault against a child has been banned for life from teaching.
In a decision made public this month by the B.C. Commissioner for Teacher Regulation, a panel prohibited Aleksandr Plehanov from teaching for 25 years.
The decision means Plehanov, who is about 47 years old, won’t be able to teach in B.C. again since he will be in his 70s by the time the ban expires.
In its order, the commissioner said Plehanov’s conduct was “extremely serious.”
“Given his previous history we find a reprimand would be ineffective in impressing upon the Respondent the seriousness of his misconduct.”
Plehanov did not respond to queries from the commissioner or provide statements in his defence; however, the panel reviewed his past actions when making its decision.
The Tri-City News covered a criminal case involving Plehanov a decade ago, as well as Plehanov’s later conviction in Surrey.
A substitute teacher in School District 43 in 2010, Plehanov was acquitted of the Tri-Cities’ charges related to his behaviour with young female students in a 2012 trial.
He was suspended from teaching in the district.
Five years later, in a 2017 sentencing, Plehanov received six months’ jail time for sexual assault for touching a child inappropriately in a Surrey case that was unrelated to teaching.
In its research, the panel sourced documents related to his conviction, which describe the events that took place on Easter Sunday in March 2013 while Plehanov was taking care of a friend’s children in a van during a group outing.
“The Court found on the evidence that X [the child] had got up to retrieve her little brother’s candy which had fallen. She then tripped and the Respondent [Plehanov] caught her and used the opportunity to sexually assault her on two brief but separate occasions within a short period of time before the father interrupted him.”
According to the conviction details sourced by the panel, Plehanov hooked his finger in the girls pants and touched her groin.
In denying Plehanov a teaching license, the panel noted that his past actions and reprimands had not deterred his behaviour.
“A prior history of this frequency and type of behaviour is clearly an aggravating factor. This is particularly so as it shows that the Respondent has a demonstrated propensity for violating physical boundaries with young school age children.”
In its decision, the panel acknowledged that the child was not his student, however, it stated:
“We wish to make it clear that this is not a mitigating factor. No minor of any age should be sexually assaulted. The younger the child, the more vulnerable they are to adults as they are defenceless in their hands. Similarly, it is not a mitigating factor if the conduct occurred while on duty or off, or whether the teacher held a current certificate or not.”
Plehanov has not held a teaching certificate since 2014 when it was cancelled; he was eligible to apply in 2017.
The panel noted that while the court banned him from working in a position of trust for five years after being released, the Teachers Regulation Branch has its own mandate.
Plehanov’s lifetime ban from teaching is necessary, the panel said, to retain confidence in the profession.
“Those who sexually assault children pose a clear danger to other children. No child, teacher, parent, or member of the general public, would feel that our school system is safe if such people were permitted to have any kind of teaching certificate.”
“Barring exceptional circumstances, the message must be, you will never teach again.”