Former Whitehorse teacher charged with sexual and indecent assault of former student

Paul Deuling made his first appearance in court via a lawyer on June 5.

A former Whitehorse teacher is facing five historical criminal charges related to the alleged sexual abuse of his student in the 1980s — the same student who filed a lawsuit against him for the same reason last year.

Paul Deuling, now retired, was charged in early May with two counts of indecent assault and three counts of sexual assault against Desire Mitchell.

A lawyer registered a first appearance on Deuling’s behalf in territorial court on June 5.

The charges no longer exist in the modern Criminal Code, but were in force at the time of the alleged offences.

The indecent assault charges are dated for the 1981-82 and 1982-83 school years. Two of the sexual assault charges are dated for 1986, while the third is dated for 1987.

It’s the second time Deuling has been brought to court on sexual abuse allegations.

Mitchell herself filed a lawsuit against Deuling in March 2018, alleging that he had began sexually abusing her during the 1978-79 school year when she was a Grade 4 student at Jack Hulland Elementary School.

The alleged abuse, which started with “inappropriate touching” and “grooming,” continued as Mitchell went on to attend Porter Creek Junior Secondary School and F.H. Collins Secondary School in the 1980s, the lawsuit claims, eventually escalating “to an incident of rape” in 1986.

At that point, the lawsuit alleges, Deuling forced Mitchell “into ongoing sexual exploitation involving multiple incidents of sexual intercourse.”

The lawsuit also lists the Yukon government as a defendant, claiming that, as Deuling’s employer, it was “vicariously liable” for the alleged abuse and should have prevented or put a stop to it.

Mitchell claimed that she suffered physical injuries, “serious emotional and psychiatric impacts,” loss of self-esteem, “difficulty forming healthy emotional relationships and attachments” and “delayed completion of educational program and entry into gainful employment” as a result.

Deuling filed a statement of defence a few months later, denying that any abuse had ever occurred.

The Yukon government has not filed a statement of defence to date.

The allegations in the lawsuit have not been tested in court.

Deuling is scheduled to appear in court again for the criminal charges later this month.

Contact Jackie Hong at jackie.hong@yukon-news.com

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