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Former Sudbury teacher faces more sex offences against students, 18 charges total

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Four new charges of sexual assault and interference involving elementary students have been quietly laid against a former Sudbury teacher, CTVNewsNorthernOntario.ca has learned.

This brings the total charges against 58-year-old Michael Zanier to 18.

"Nine survivors have come forward," Sudbury police spokesperson Kaitlyn Dunn told CTV News in an email.

"All survivors are under the age of 16."

Zanier was first charged following a complaint made in June 2022 about inappropriate behaviour and touching involving students where he taught at St. Charles College.

Two months later, he was charged with an additional 10 charges, bringing the total to 14. The alleged incidents occurred between 2012 and 2022.

In late February, Sudbury police laid two more sexual assault and sexual interference charges against him after two more students came forward in January.

The 2024 charges involve incidents that allegedly happened on Jan. 1, 2010, and Jan. 7, 2013, a clerk at the Sudbury courthouse told CTV News on the phone.

Dunn said the students attended a local elementary school at the time.

"He was employed at the elementary school prior to the secondary school, both schools in the Catholic school board," Dunn said.

Zanier was released again and is scheduled to appear in court March 27, she added.

The first 14 charges have been moved from Ontario to Superior Court and are scheduled to return to assignment court June 4 to set hearing dates.

Zanier is listed as inactive/non-practicing on the Ontario College of Teachers' website as of April 22, 2023, meaning he is barred from teaching in publicly-funded schools.

He became a teacher in 2006.

"On June 30, 2022, the following conditions which are relevant to Michael Farrell Zanier’s eligibility to teach were imposed by a justice in the Ontario Court of Justice in the City of Greater Sudbury, in the Province of Ontario: Do not be in the company of or communicate, directly or indirectly, by any physical, electronic or other means with males or females under the age of 16 years," teaching regulator said about Zanier.

"Do not attend a public park or public swimming area where persons under the age of 16 years are present or can reasonably be expected to be present, or a daycare centre, school ground, playground or community centre. Do not seek, obtain or continue with any paid or unpaid activity that involves being in a position of trust or authority towards persons under the age of 16 years."

The total number of victims is not yet known.

A 40-year-old former male administrator at the school was charged in August 2022 with criminal negligence and failure to provide necessaries of life and is accused of not acting on students' complaints about Zanier.

Because his name was never provided, CTV News reached out to Sudbury police for an update on the administrator's case and was directed to the Crown attorney's office. 

We reached out to the Crown attorney and are awaiting a response about the status of the administrator's charges.

Sudbury Catholic District School Board declined to comment on either case saying "it would be inappropriate for us to comment on a matter that is before the courts," regarding Zanier.

When asked if the St. Charles College administrator still worked for the school board, it replied, "As this is a personnel matter, it is inappropriate for us to provide comment." 

Support for survivors

"If you have experienced a sexual assault, you have various options for reporting the incident(s) to police if and when you are ready to do so," Sudbury police said.

"In the case of an emergency, if you are in danger or need medical assistance, if the incident just took place, or the person responsible is nearby, please call 911 immediately. If you are reporting a sexual assault after the fact and you do not believe that you require immediate assistance, you can call us at 705-675-9171 or you can report it online through the online reporting option on our website."

Police have an information guide for survivors of sexual assault available online.

"We recognize that this is a very difficult time for survivors and we want to provide you with the assistance, resources and support that you require."

Resources for sexual assault survivors in Canada

If you or someone you know is struggling with sexual assault or trauma, the following resources are available to support people in crisis:

If you are in immediate danger or fear for your safety, you should call 911.

A full list of sexual assault centres in Canada that offer information, advocacy and counselling can be found at ReeseCommunity.com. Resources in your community can be found by entering your postal code. 

Helplines, legal services and locations that offer sexual assault kits in Alberta, B.C., Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec, Ontario and Nova Scotia can be found here.

  • National Residential School Crisis Line: 1-866-925-4419
  • 24-hour crisis line: 1-416-597-8808 
  • Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline: 1-833-900-1010 
  • Trans Lifeline: 1-877-330-6366
  • Sexual misconduct support for current or former members of the Armed Forces: 1-844-750-1648

Read about your rights as a victim here.

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