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This article was published 13/4/2016 (495 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A former Manitoba teacher convicted of sexually assaulting a female student has lost his bid for a new trial or a reduced sentence.
Robert Michael Woron, 58, has continued to maintain he did nothing wrong despite being found guilty at a 2013 trial. He was then given a six-month jail term and put on the national sex offender registry plus three years of probation. He was also fired from his job at the Waywayseecappo Community School in the community, located about 300 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg.
Woron was back in court this week, where Queen's Bench Justice Robert Cummings rejected his appeals on both the verdict and penalty. Cummings said the trial judge was entitled to make the credibility findings that she did.
"After a lengthy assessment, she concluded that she did not believe the evidence of the accused and that that evidence failed to raise a reasonable doubt. She then turned to the evidence of the complainant and, after a further assessment, concluded that she was a credible witness. The trial judge accepted the evidence of the complainant 'that the accused touched her by rubbing her up her thigh area more than once,'" said Cummings.
In fact, the teen told court she was touched by Woron as many as eight times on one particular day. Woron had argued that any physical contact he had with the girl was accidental and non-sexual.
"As to whether the Crown has proven a sexual intention and not a mere common assault, I find that he has. The nature of the touch, which was rubbing, and the place on the body where she was touched, the upper thigh below the buttocks, both support a finding the Crown has proven that the touching was for a sexual purpose," the trial judge concluded.
Woron also claimed the girl's story should have been rejected because she didn't immediately tell anyone what happened and continued to be in a classroom with him even after the first incident.
"This court regularly hears from and about victims who do not immediately come forward and report or struggle against or flee from unwanted contact. We know this can be the case for a variety of reasons. Fear or a power imbalance are but two of the reasons that this Court often hears about," said Cummings.
Finally, Woron claimed his sentence was harsh and excessive, especially since had no prior criminal involvement. He was seeking the mandatory minimum of three months.
But Cummings said the six-month term will stand, especially since Woron continues to "deny his involvement in the offense and told his probation officer that his conduct was trivial."
"From this the trial judge concluded that his rehabilitation would be difficult," said Cummings.