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This article was published 12/7/2019 (1043 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
At least four women have come forward with allegations against their former Winnipeg high school teacher, who has been charged with sexually assaulting two of them.
Ishmael Mustapha, 46, was an instructor at the University of Winnipeg Collegiate high school when he allegedly had inappropriate relationships with students.
Police allege female students who were
16 and 18 were sexually assaulted in 2016 and 2018.
Mustapha was arrested Wednesday, after he returned to Winnipeg from abroad. None of the allegations has been proven in court.
Court documents show the former math teacher and boys soccer coach has been ordered not to contact two additional young women, both of whom were also his students, the Free Press confirmed.
One of them, now 20, alleges he groomed her when she was his 16-year-old student. She said he offered presents, money, better grades, jobs and volunteer opportunities, all of which she found inappropriate.
"He always texted all the students," she said. "And then he just kind of like, would be inappropriate sometimes, he would start off by making comments about my physical appearance every now and then, and would buy me presents."
She said other comments, by text and in person, warned about boys’ motives, were critical of other students, mentioned the possibility of better grades or were about cheating on his wife.
She alleges that, while she was in his class at age 16, the texts escalated to content such as, "‘Oh, I couldn’t stop staring at you in class today’ or ‘you were distracting me today.’"
"After I finished the year, like two days later, he texted me saying that he was in love with me, and that he wanted to leave his wife or something. I deleted the text so I don’t know word for word, but I do remember everything he had said, basically, saying that he was going to leave his wife and I was different from the other students and that we just got on so well," she said.
"He thought we even had ‘a song,’ which was so strange. And I just completely said, like, you’re being inappropriate."
"He always texted all the students...And then he just kind of like, would be inappropriate sometimes, he would start off by making comments about my physical appearance every now and then, and would buy me presents." – former student, 20
She said she blocked his number but continued to receive messages on other platforms.
"He found other ways to message me, apologizing later, saying that he didn’t want to ruin our friendship, which is already very delusional — because you’re my teacher, we weren’t friends. But in his mind he thought so."
She said she tried to "let it go," but when police contacted her a few months ago, she gave them a statement.
Her mother complained to the school, but she doesn’t know if anything came of it. The criminal charges laid against Mustapha are not related to her.
It’s unclear when the school found out about the allegations or what school officials did in response.
The University of Winnipeg Collegiate deferred questions to a spokesman for the University of Winnipeg, who couldn’t say how long Mustapha had taught there.
He left shortly after the 2018-19 school year began.
One of the alleged sexual assaults took place in September 2018, information filed in court shows.
"This matter is with the police. We have no further comment," Kevin Rosen, U of W’s executive director of marketing and communications, wrote in an email.
After the Winnipeg Police Service announced Mustapha had been charged with two counts of sexual assault and one count of sexual exploitation, the
university circulated an email to students Friday afternoon telling them how they can get counselling.
The first time Mustapha came to the attention of police was in January, when one of the teens reported a sexual assault.
Her report was one of the two that resulted in criminal charges. The sex crimes unit investigated and issued a warrant for his arrest in June, but he was out of the country.
WPS spokesman Const. Rob Carver described the allegations as a "serious breach of trust." Investigators are encouraging other possible victims to come forward.
"It’s something that every parent fears, and you always assume that the checks and balances that are in place protect our kids," Carver said.
"If anyone has had any contact with him that they felt was inappropriate or may have been criminal, contact us."
Mustapha is set to appear in Winnipeg provincial court July 29. He has no criminal record, but he’s been ordered to follow several conditions while the charges are before the court, one of which stipulates that he must live either at an address in Winnipeg or in the United Arab Emirates.
He’s not allowed to be within 200 meters of any of the four women or their homes, workplaces, schools or places of worship. He is also barred from public parks and swimming pools, as well as daycare centres and other areas where children are expected to be present.
Katie May is a general-assignment reporter for the Free Press.