BRITISH COLUMBIA

Porn charges laid against former Port McNeill school district worker

11/14/2012 01:23 EST | Updated 01/14/2013 05:12 EST
PORT MCNEILL, B.C. - A part-time elementary school teacher in the Vancouver Island North school district faces child-pornography charges.

But the RCMP and the school district said Wednesday there's no indication any children shown in the evidence are from the Port McNeill area.

RCMP in Port McNeill, on northern Vancouver Island, have announced 45-year-old Timothy Joseph Ouellette faces one count of possession of child pornography and another charge of possession of pornography for the purpose of distribution or sale.

Charges were laid Nov. 9, more than seven months after Mounties raided Ouellette's Port McNeill home and seized several pieces of evidence.

Vancouver Island North school district Supt. Scott Benwell said Ouellette was suspended March 30, at the same time the district was alerted to the investigation.

"The RCMP has confirmed with us that they have no evidence to suggest that any children were victimized locally and the school district has not been part of the investigation," Benwell said in an interview.

Benwell said Ouellette's temporary contract has expired and he's no longer an employee with the board.

He said the Teacher Regulation Branch at the Ministry of Education has also been informed of the police investigation and subsequent charges against the man.

The district also informed its local teachers association to make sure all processes were being followed, Benwell said.

"Of course student safety is always our primary concern."

He said the district couldn't inform the parents at the school until charges were laid late last week because of the ongoing police investigation, and there were privacy concerns for the accused.

Port McNeill RCMP were alerted to the allegations against Ouellette by B.C.'s Integrated Children Exploitation Unit.

Based on those allegations, officers obtained a search warrant and went into the man's home this past March 29.

Ouellette was arrested the same day, and multiple pieces of evidence were seized from the man's home.

Police say Ouellette has since moved away from the Port McNeill area.

While Ouellette is free on bail, he must not use the Internet or have contact with children under the age of 14.

His next court date is set for Nov. 20 in provincial court in Port Hardy.