Steinbach teacher accused of sexually assaulting students RCMP release job history, expect other complainants to come forward
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 13/07/2022 (202 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A Manitoba teacher, now charged with sexually assaulting several of his female students, has taught at four schools since 2018 — a work history that has RCMP concerned there may be more victims.
Police took the unusual steps of immediately naming an educator accused of sexual misconduct and publishing his detailed employment history.
David Bueti, an educator from Winnipeg, is facing five counts of sexual assault and three counts of sexual interference, a charge related to unwanted touching and grooming behaviour.
The 41-year-old is alleged to have started inappropriately touching teenage girls almost immediately after he started working at Steinbach Regional Secondary School in February. Bueti was an educator and coached rugby at the rural high school, the second largest in the province, until last month.
During a news conference Wednesday, RCMP Sgt. Morgan Page called the incident timeline and situation itself “very concerning.” She stressed the importance of circulating the details of Bueti’s past jobs.
“That’s why we’re here today — to provide (resume) information to the public so that they’re aware of when he was working in the schools and that there may be other people out there that may come forward,” Page told reporters at RCMP headquarters in Winnipeg.
Six female students recently disclosed allegations of sexual misconduct and assault against an employee of the Steinbach school to a trusted adult. The Hanover School Division notified a school social worker, who reported the incidents to police.
On June 17, RCMP received several reports about incidents that occurred on school property between Feb. 1 and May 31 of this year. They involve girls ranging in age from 15 to 18, RCMP said.
Bueti was arrested on July 4. He has since been released from custody on court conditions, including orders that prevent him from contacting his alleged victims, seeking employment in a position of trust or authority over youth, and visiting schools or playgrounds.
“This is an egregious abuse of power in a place where children are supposed to be protected by the adults around them,” said Mary Lobson, an advocate for sexual violence education and prevention in Winnipeg.
“This is an egregious abuse of power in a place where children are supposed to be protected by the adults around them.” – Mary Lobson
Bueti’s attorney, criminal defence lawyer Josh Weinstein said his client is presumed innocent and denies all allegations.
Since entering the local teaching profession 16 years ago, Bueti has filled a number of educational roles at various public and private schools.
He has worked at several schools in Winnipeg, including River East Collegiate for a six-month period in 2021, and Holy Cross School for four months in 2020.
Court records show he filed a wrongful dismissal lawsuit against the latter institution, a K-8 Catholic school where he worked as the vice-principal between August and December 2020, late last year.
In a statement of claim, Bueti accused the school’s leader of defamation, alleging he called Bueti a liar at an open board meeting and in other communications with school officials.
Bueti alleged the principal and a teacher at the school, who was also the local CUPE president “conspired with one another to interfere with (Bueti’s) relationship with and employment by (Holy Cross).”
In November 2020, Bueti attended a union meeting with the union president and another teacher where he “was accused of a lack of professionalism, dishonesty and disrespect stemming from arrangements (Bueti) was involved in to address the concerns of a parent’s child,” the December 2021 statement of claim alleges. “The union did not agree with the arrangements.”
Bueti was employed the longest by St. John Brebeuf School, from 2007 to 2018. He also taught at Holy Ghost School from 2006 to 2007.
Page was unaware of whether the educator was involved in any sports aside from women’s rugby in Steinbach, but she said he was likely assisting with extracurricular activities at other schools.
Hanover superintendent Shelley Amos notified families about the investigation in a mass email and assured them school leaders are taking the allegations seriously and working with authorities.
“We recognize that these allegations and the announcement of charges will be disturbing and unsettling for many students, their families, as well as staff,” Amos wrote. “We share your concern in this matter.”
“We recognize that these allegations and the announcement of charges will be disturbing and unsettling for many students, their families, as well as staff.” – Shelley Amos
Bueti’s other former employers issued similar statements Wednesday, while noting they are not aware of any incidents that occurred during his tenure in their communities.
Amanda Gaudes, a spokeswoman for the River East Transcona School Division, confirmed the educator was a substitute in east Winnipeg at the start of the 2021-22 academic year.
In a prepared release, Robert Praznik, superintendent of Manitoba Catholic Schools, indicated the association will “fully support” any police investigation and encourages anyone with further allegations to contact police.
One former colleague of Bueti’s said he had a reputation for making students uncomfortable.
“Students would tell me he would say things that aren’t necessarily politically correct. The girls were scared of him… He gave off creepy vibes,” the teacher said.
The new charges have reignited the debate about whether an independent regulatory body of teachers in Manitoba could prevent incidents of abuse of power. Members of the public in Canadian jurisdictions, including Ontario and B.C., can search an open registry to find out about any individual teacher’s disciplinary record.
The Manitoba Teachers’ Society declined to comment on the matter.
Manitoba announced new mandatory abuse prevention and recognition training courses for teachers and school coaches after news broke about Kelsey McKay, a Winnipeg football coach and phys-ed teacher. McKay has been charged with eight counts of sexual assault, seven counts of sexual exploitation, six counts of luring and one of sexual interference for incidents that date from 2004 to 2011 and involve eight former youth football players.
“Training, respectfully, is part of the solution — but it’s not the only solution,” said Lobson, founder of Respect, Educate, Empower Survivors, an online sexual violence reporting platform that allows users to make anonymous disclosures.
“It really needs to be a multi-pronged approach, looking at what are the different opportunities to make change, what are the opportunities for us to help shift that culture.”
“Students would tell me he would say things that aren’t necessarily politically correct. The girls were scared of him… He gave off creepy vibes.” – Former Colleague
Lobson noted that her platform, known as REES, allows for operators to flag repeat perpetrator names if they are entered into the system. She met with provincial officials late last month to discuss implementing the tool, which is currently used by post-secondary schools across the province, in K-12 communities to identify problematic behaviours faster.
RCMP reminded members of the public there is no time limit to reporting sexual assault.
“Even if you were assaulted years ago, you can still come forward and make a report,” Page said.
“Reporting a sexual assault can help seek justice and start the healing process.”
Police ask anyone with information to contact Steinbach RCMP at 204-326-1234.
— with files from Erik Pindera and Dean Pritchard
Updated on Wednesday, July 13, 2022 10:46 AM CDT: Adds photo
Updated on Wednesday, July 13, 2022 10:58 AM CDT: Adds photo