Teacher jailed for se­cret videos of stu­dents’ chests

The Standard (St. Catharines) - - Canada & World - COLIN PERKEL

TORONTO — A high school teacher con­victed by Canada’s top court of voyeurism for se­cretly video record­ing fe­male stu­dents with a pen cam­era has been handed a six-month jail term.

In his de­ci­sion, Su­pe­rior Court Jus­tice An­drew Good­man re­jected a de­fence plea for a con­di­tional sen­tence, say­ing it would be con­trary to the public in­ter­est.

“This of­fence can be clas­si­fied as a breach of trust per­pe­trated on young fe­male ado­les­cents,” Good­man wrote. “The sig­nif­i­cant de­nun­ci­a­tory ef­fect of jail is re­quired.”

Po­lice in Lon­don, Ont., charged Ryan Jarvis with voyeurism for record­ings he made in 2010 and 2011 as he chat­ted with 27 fe­male stu­dents aged 14 to 18.

In Novem­ber 2015, Good­man blasted the English teacher’s be­hav­iour as “morally re­pug­nant and pro­fes­sion­ally ob­jec­tion­able.” Nev­er­the­less, Good­man ac­quit­ted him on the ba­sis that, while the stu­dents had an ex­pec­ta­tion of pri­vacy at school, the teacher had no sex­ual pur­pose.

The Court of Ap­peal in a split de­ci­sion dis­agreed with Good­man, but nev­er­the­less up­held the ac­quit­tal in Oc­to­ber 2017. While Jarvis’s record­ings of the chest ar­eas of the clothed stu­dents were ob­vi­ously sex­ual, the ap­pel­late court said, the stu­dents had no rea­son­able ex­pec­ta­tion of pri­vacy.

The Supreme Court of Canada, how­ever, ruled unan­i­mously in Fe­bru­ary that a stu­dent would not ex­pect to be sin­gled out by a teacher to be­come the sub­ject of a se­cre­tive, min­utes-long record­ing fo­cus­ing on her body. The high court, deal­ing with the of­fence of voyeurism for the first time, con­victed Jarvis and sent the case back to Good­man for sen­tenc­ing.

In his sen­tenc­ing de­ci­sion on Tues­day, Good­man noted the im­pact Jarvis’s ac­tions had on his vic­tims, such as feel­ing be­trayed, hav­ing their trust in author­ity dam­aged, or be­ing left trau­ma­tized.

“It had last­ing ef­fects on me, even to this day, nine years later,” M.W., who was a 14-year-old stu­dent when Jarvis videoed her, said in a vic­tim im­pact state­ment.

“It has had an ef­fect on my re­la­tion­ships with men, even today.”

In craft­ing his sen­tence, Good­man also re­jected the pros­e­cu­tion call for a 12-to-18-month term for the first-time of­fender.

The judge noted that sup­port­ers, such as his par­ents, part­ner and friends, de­scribed Jarvis as con­sid­er­ate, car­ing and al­ways ready to help oth­ers in need.

Nev­er­the­less, Good­man was adamant that a strong mes­sage needed to be sent.

Cam­eras, cell­phones and other de­vices ca­pa­ble of record­ing peo­ple without their knowl­edge or con­sent are ev­ery­where, he noted.

“In my view, this in­creases the need for send­ing a mes­sage to the gen­eral public that tak­ing pic­tures of in­di­vid­u­als in com­pro­mis­ing po­si­tions — for ex­am­ple, women who might be wear­ing a top that is loose or show­ing cleav­age — is in­ap­pro­pri­ate,” Good­man said. “That is what Mr. Jarvis did, re­peat­edly and with guile.”

In ad­di­tion to jail time, Good­man placed Jarvis on pro­ba­tion for 12 months dur­ing which time he can’t have con­tact with any of his vic­tims.

Jarvis was stripped of his licence to teach in April af­ter he ad­mit­ted to pro­fes­sional mis­con­duct. The dis­ci­pline com­mit­tee of the On­tario Col­lege of Teach­ers found he had abused his po­si­tion of trust and author­ity egre­giously.

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