Yussef Benabdallah-Chaouni, 51, faces two counts of sexual assault andsexual interference. He was working as a substitute teacher with the board when the alleged incidents occurred between Nov. 1 and Nov. 17.
Police have only found one victim, but they believe there might have been others. In an afternoon news conference, the director of education said the board was cooperating with Ottawa police.
Jennifer Adams said the board had been “advised by the Ottawa Police that charges have been laid against an elementary occasional teacher. This is a very serious matter and we are co-operating fully with the police. As an investigation is under way, we cannot comment on the specific details of the incident.
“Our primary concern in these situations is with those who are directly affected and ensuring that they have access to these resources and supports,” she said. “I want to reassure our community that our staff is committed to providing a safe and caring learning environment. In these situations, we must ensure that we remain focused on the wellbeing of our children.”
The teacher, who has worked at the board for about two years, has been suspended, Adams said. The school where he worked will not be named. She said officials at the elementary school where the alleged incidents occurred alerted the board.
“We want parents to ensure that their children feel comfortable talking to them and those resources on the website will help provide parents with some guidance. It’s really having an open communication with children and helping children feel comfortable about talking about what their feelings are,” Adams said.
She said police were deciding when information about the alleged incidents would be released to parents. She said the board had a stringent policy regarding the hiring of substitute teachers.
“We have an interview process and a hiring process that is followed throughout the school district. All our teachers who are hired have to go through a police check, they have to make an annual declaration for a police check and we follow up with references before doing any hires,” Adams said. She declined to comment on whether those practices were followed in the hiring of the teacher.