Windsor Star

EX-TEACHER’S SENTENCE CALLED ‘SLAP ON WRIST’

No jail time for assault, parents outraged

- MONICA WOLFSON

Former Catholic elementary school teacher Rick Doran, who pleaded guilty to four counts of assault Thursday and was sentenced to a twoyear suspended sentence, hopes to return to teaching once he’s served his time and completed counsellin­g.

Doran, 33, was originally charged with a count of assault, four counts of sexual assault and four counts of sexual interferen­ce for touching three boys on the buttocks.

After Doran pleaded guilty to assault, assistant Crown attorney Teresa Donnelly moved to have the other charges dismissed.

“We’re happy the matter’s been resolved,” defence lawyer William Markle said. Over the next two years Doran can’t teach or volunteer with children younger than 14. His teaching licence was suspended by the Ontario College of Teachers in October 2009. Doran isn’t expected to defend himself before a college disciplina­ry hearing until next year, Markle said.

It was important that he was not labelled a sex offender, Markle said.

“Hopefully he’ll plead his case in front of the College of Teachers ... and have an opportunit­y to continue his career as a teacher,” Markle said after the trial. “At the end of the day he’s an excellent teacher.”

Paul Picard, director of education for the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board, said Doran won’t be going back to teaching.

“This is the highest level of authority to be challenged,” Picard said. “The (burden of proof) at the college is much lower. Now you have a convicted person with crimes against children.”

Outraged parents called the two- year suspended sentence “a slap on the wrist.”

“We’re disappoint­ed,” said the mother of a 10-year-old boy who attended Holy Cross elementary school in LaSalle. “We feel it’s a slap on the wrist. He showed no remorse. He’s a coward.”

Parents rejected claims by Markle that Doran was remorseful, which was reflected in his guilty plea.

“If he was remorseful, he would have addressed us in court,” one mother said. Doran declined to speak when Superior Court Justice Renee Pomerance asked him if he wanted to address the court.

In support of the suspended sentence, Markle said Doran had no criminal record, volunteere­d with the Chil- dren’s Aid Society and specialize­d in working with children with behavioura­l problems. When Markle said one of the complainan­ts from Kingsville had “issues” the child’s mother yelled in protest and a woman sitting next to her grabbed her in a hug.

Doran was arrested in March 2009 after being suspended by the Catholic board that January. Doran taught Grade 3 at Holy Cross and Grade 4 and Grade 5 at St. John de Brebeuf in Kingsville.

In a statement of facts read out in court by Donnelly, Doran admitted to moistening his thumb in his mouth and then using it to wipe food particles from a nine-year-old boy’s mouth in 2005 at St. John de Brebeuf. That boy is now 14 and was present in court.

“(The boy) thought it was weird and gross and made him uncomforta­ble,” Donnelly said. Doran did it a second time and the boy complained to his mother. After the mother spoke to the principal, her son was transferre­d to another class.

In 2005 and 2006, Doran was coaching basketball and patted the buttocks of an eight-year-old boy over his clothes. Doran went to the boy’s class even though he wasn’t his teacher. If the boy behaved well, Doran would give him Smarties. As a reward, Doran took him to the movies where he patted the boy on the buttocks and placed his hand on the boy’s leg during the movie. The boy told his mother about the touching and she spoke with Doran. He admitted to patting her son on the behind. She told him she didn’t want him placing his hands on her son in any fashion.

Doran was transferre­d to Holy Cross elementary school in LaSalle. He was a Grade 3 teacher and was seen at a parent-teacher conference patting the buttocks of a seven-yearold boy. The mother spoke to her son about the contact and he said Doran had patted his buttocks several times. She confronted Doran, but he changed the subject and didn’t answer her. When he continued to slap her son on the buttocks, she reported the behaviour to the principal. Doran was suspended and then fired.

Shortly after his Doran’s in March 2009, an eight-year-old LaSalle student came forward and told his parents that Doran used to swat him on the buttocks over his clothes and he did not like it.

Several parents read tearful victim impact statements and said their children were emotionall­y harmed by the buttocks touching. One mother said Doran abused his authority.

 ?? JASON KRYK/The Windsor Star ?? Rick Doran, a former Catholic elementary school teacher at Holy Cross in LaSalle, covers his face as
he leaves the Superior Court of Justice Thursday. Defence lawyer William Markle walks behind.
JASON KRYK/The Windsor Star Rick Doran, a former Catholic elementary school teacher at Holy Cross in LaSalle, covers his face as he leaves the Superior Court of Justice Thursday. Defence lawyer William Markle walks behind.

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