Burling­ton teacher not guilty of sex charges

The Hamilton Spectator - - LO­CAL - TIM WHIT­NELL Burling­ton Post

BURLING­TON — A for­mer Burling­ton teacher has been ac­quit­ted of all charges stem­ming from a po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion into al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual of­fences against ele­men­tary stu­dents.

Den­nis Con­nolly was ac­quit­ted of all 27 charges in Burling­ton pro­vin­cial court by Jus­tice David Har­ris on Tues­day.

The judge’s writ­ten rea­sons for find­ing Con­nolly not guilty on all counts were filed but not read in open court, on the agree­ment by the Hal­ton Crown at­tor­ney’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive and one of Con­nolly’s lawyers. About a dozen peo­ple were in the court­room to hear the ver­dict in the case.

In Novem­ber 2015, when Con­nolly was teach­ing at Alexan­der’s Pub­lic School on Sut­ton Drive in north­east Burling­ton, he faced seven charges laid by Hal­ton Re­gional Po­lice.

Con­nolly, 59, was ini­tially charged with one count of as­sault and three counts each of sex­ual as­sault and sex­ual in­ter­fer­ence as part of al­le­ga­tions in­volv­ing four mi­nors. The mu­sic teacher ul­ti­mately faced one count of as­sault and 13 counts each of sex­ual as­sault and sex­ual in­ter­fer­ence in­volv­ing a total of 14 stu­dents.

Out­side the court­room, Owen God­dard, one of Con­nolly’s Toronto-based lawyers, said they had noth­ing to say but that a state­ment might be re­leased later.

Sev­eral hours later, God­dard said, “Ob­vi­ously, we are very pleased with the re­sult …. We are happy that he (Con­nolly) has been vin­di­cated.”

Con­nolly was a mu­sic teacher at Alexan­der’s, a ju­nior-kinder­garten-Grade 8 school, at the time of the charges. He was as­signed to home with­out teach­ing du­ties on Nov. 17, 2015 by the school board when it was first ad­vised of an in­ves­ti­ga­tion. He had been at the school since it opened in 2006.

An of­fi­cial with the Hal­ton Dis­trict School Board said Tues­day that Con­nolly is no longer an em­ployee. It was not stated when the re­la­tion­ship ended.

The school board sent a let­ter out to par­ents and guardians of chil­dren at Alexan­der’s stat­ing, in part, that Con­nolly had been ac­quit­ted of all charges.

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