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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Toronto special needs teacher faces sex charges involving boys

TORONTO - A 56-year-old man who teaches special 
needs kids in Scarborough faces charges of sexual 
assault and assault involving two young boys.
Toronto Police said Tuesday that a 12-year-old boy was 
sexually assaulted by a man at a home in the Markham 
Rd.-Sheppard Ave. E. area, between Sept. 4, 2012, and 
March 7, 2013.
Investigators also alleged that the same assailant 
sexually assaulted another 12-year-old boy at the same 
home, between Sept. 4, 2012, and March 7, 2013.
Kearsley Peters -- a teacher at White Haven Junior Public 
School, near McCowan Rd. and Sheppard Ave. E. -- was 
arrested March 7 and charged with sexual assault, 
sexual exploitation, sexual interference and assault.
"It's stunning and scary," said one mother who was 
picking up her child from the school on Tuesday 
Const. Tony Vella said the accused was not known to 
police. He added the house mentioned in the allegations 
does not belong to the victims or the accused teacher. 
Peters remains suspended with pay, Grant Bowers, 
counsel for the Toronto District School Board, 
confirmed Tuesday afternoon.
"A letter went home to parents just before the (March) 
break and there's a parent meeting (Wednesday) night," 
Bowers said.
One parent who had gone away before March Break was 
just finding out about the charges and expressed shock. 
Others declined to comment, preferring to wait until 
more information comes out at Wednesday's meeting.
The meeting -- compulsory when a teacher is charged 
with harming students -- is meant to address any 
questions parents may have, Bowers said.
Social workers and police officers will be present at the 
Peters was first hired by the TDSB in September 2008 
and began working at White Haven in September 2009, 
Bowers said.
The letter sent to parents states school staff "acted 
immediately" when the accusations arose. A substitute 
teacher has been appointed.
"We know that this situation may be upsetting for some 
of our students and will ensure that supports are in 
place for those students," the letter, signed by the 
school principal, said.
Police have released a photo of the accused man 
because they are concerned about the possibility of 
other victims.
Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 
416-808-4200 or Crime Stoppers at 416-222-TIPS (8477).
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