Letter: Courts fail in dealing with a sex offender

The Editor, Re. “Former SD43 TOC jailed in sex case” (The Tri-City News, Jan. 12).

The Editor,

Re. “Former SD43 TOC jailed in sex case” (The Tri-City News, Jan. 12).

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Reading the article on the sexual assault of a six-year-old girl by former teacher Aleksandr Plehanov left me not only angry at the ineffectiveness and total failure of our judicial system to protect children from predators, but incensed by the seemingly schizoid and contradictory reasoning used by the judge to determine the slap on the wrist Plehanov received. And there is enough contradiction to go around to include the two psychiatrists who have examined/treated him for eight years.

The failure of our judicial system began in 2010, when he was charged with 10 counts of sexual interference and five counts of sexual assault of five girls aged seven or eight who were students at Tri-City schools where he worked as a substitute teacher. He was acquitted by a judge, who incredulously characterized Plehanov as a “teacher who didn’t grasp the boundaries of student-teacher relationships.” Didn’t grasp the boundaries? Sexual interference and sexual assault seem to go way beyond anyone’s definition of acceptable boundaries. And there was enough credence and credibility to these charges to have his teaching licence revoked.

Justice Blok and both psychiatrists agreed on the psychodynamics that drive Plehanov: “He lacks an insight and understanding of his offending” — so they do agree he is offending — “and he has minimized his responsibility in regards to these actions and doesn’t view himself as a sexual offender.”

Didn’t either one of the psychiatrist find this troubling? One of the psychiatrists says there is only a “moderate” risk he will reoffend. Given the fact that Plehanov blamed the father for his latest victim for his predicament because he overreacted shows he took no accountability for his actions. I think there is more than a moderate chance this man will reoffend.

Justice Blok acknowledged the prior charges in his reasons for sentence but they did not play a role in his sentencing decision. Why? They must have been a little troubling.

How badly does our justice system fail us when it comes to protecting children? One need only look at the case of Robert Noyes, a teacher and principal in several different B.C. schools who was convicted in 1986 of the sexual assault of 19 victims between the ages of five and 15. He admitted that he abused more than 60 children. The Supreme Court of BC deemed him a dangerous offender, meaning he should never get parole because of the extreme possibility to reoffend. Even Noyes admitted he would always be a risk to children. And what was his fate? In 2003, he was granted full parole, remarried and is living in an undisclosed location.

Ah, the justice system.

Neil Swanson, Coquitlam

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