A former Pembina Trails School Division music teacher convicted of assault, after he admitted to inappropriately touching a teenage student, told a B.C. judge his misunderstanding of physical boundaries was shaped by "the way things are done in Winnipeg."
Flavio Cianflone, 68, was handed a one-year conditional discharge after pleading guilty in Nanaimo court April 29 to one count of simple assault.
Cianflone was a music teacher at Shaftesbury High School when he retired six years ago after 25 years with the school division.
Cianflone "retired at an age that is fairly typical of teachers," said Supt. Ted Fransen in an email to the Free Press.
Fransen declined to discuss whether Cianflone had been the subject of any related complaints.
"We do not respond to specific personnel matters," he said.
A report in Nanaimo News Now says Cianflone subjected the teenage female victim to unwanted hugs, kissing and touching during guitar lessons over the course of about 18 months, beginning in early 2018.
Cianflone, a dual Canadian-Italian citizen, told court that in Winnipeg, shaking hands was not seen as a respectful way to greet people, Nanaimo News Now reported.
"The hugging and the cheek-kissing, cheek-to-cheek, whether it’s male or female, whether it’s a young adolescent, that’s just the way things are done in Winnipeg," Nanaimo News Now quoted Cianflone as telling court.
He was sentenced to one year of probation and ordered to have no contact with the victim or unsupervised contact with anyone under 16.
Cianflone has no criminal record in Manitoba or B.C. In 2011, he was charged with uttering threats and possession of a weapon dangerous to the public peace, but the charges were stayed after he agreed to a 12-month peace bond.