The courthouse in Whitehorse (Yukon News Files)

The courthouse in Whitehorse (Yukon News Files)

Some sexual offence charges against former Whitehorse education assistant stayed

Trial for alleged offences against one victim won’t proceed; other charges still on docket

Some of the charges alleging that former education assistant Wiliam Auclair-Bellemare sexually interfered with children while working at the school have been stayed.

Auclair-Bellemare had been employed at the Hidden Valley Elementary School in Whitehorse until 2019. He was dismissed following allegations of sexual misconduct towards a student and plead guilty to sexual interference in January 2021. He was sentenced to six months in custody. The lack of a follow-up investigation by either the RCMP or the Yukon’s department of Education was widely criticized when it came to light and it was eventually restarted.

The renewed investigation led to fresh charges related to two more alleged victims, who had both been students at the school. The additional charges were filed in 2021. One of those sets of charges were stayed by the Crown on Feb. 9.

Melissa McKay, a crown prosecutor, said her office is required to continually assess its cases. She said this case was found to have no reasonable chance of achieving a conviction. A trial date had been set for late March, but that will not be taking place.

The set of charges related to the other alleged victim remain before the court and a trial is set to begin June 24. In addition to the criminal charges, Auclair-Bellemare’s alleged conduct has been the subject of three lawsuits that name him, the Yukon government and the Attorney General of Canada as defendants. The lawsuits were filed by the families of alleged victims. The court has not made a ruling in any of the lawsuits.

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