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Guelph high school 'monster' gets light sentence in sex assault case

Former College Heights teacher who pleaded guilty to four charges gets light sentence in deal because conviction would have been difficult had it gone to trial
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Brian Hathway, left, covers his face during as he is led to a waiting vehicle by a supporter during an earlier court appearance. GuelphToday file photo

A Guelph teenager sexually assaulted by his former high school teacher has had his life thrown into turmoil and his family is torn, a Guelph court heard Friday.

Former College Heights teacher Brian Hathway previously pleaded guilty to a total of four sex-related charges against three individuals: two former students and a 17-year-old who was still a student at the time.

On Friday, Hathway, 50, was sentenced to one year in prison and three years probation.

“No wonder he was skipping school, his monster was there,” the former student's grandmother said in delivering her victim impact statement.

“May God forgive me, because I will never be able to forgive you," she said, glaring at Hathway, who refused to meet her eyes.

None of the victims appeared in court Friday. Their identity and any information that might identify them is protected by court order.

Hathway previously pleaded guilty to sexual assault and sexual exploitation against the teen, and sexual assault and communicating with a person for the purpose of obtaining sexual services involving two former students.

Court heard he was given a light sentence as part of an agreement between the Crown attorney and defence council.

That agreement was deemed necessary by the Crown because a conviction at trial would have been unlikely due to the fact the main victim is struggling to the point he would have been unable to testify in court.

“Had this gone to trial there may not have been a conviction,” Justice Lorelei Amlin told the court.

Crown attorney Julia Forward agreed that the sentencing was at “the low end of the scale” but was necessary.

“He was going to have a hard time being a witness,” Forward said of the main victim, adding that would have made the Crown’s case “weak.”

Hathway, who began teaching at College Heights in 2003, earned the trust of the main victim in the case and his family by showing interest in his well-being and offering extra help with schoolwork.

He contacted the main victim’s family to offer that help and his mother encouraged her son to take the teacher up on the offer.

“We handed him over to you on a silver platter,” said the victim’s grandmother.

Around the same time Hathway was inviting two former students over to his house.

He supplied the three victims with booze and alcohol at his home on separate occasions before committing the crimes, which ranged from offers of cash for sexual acts to forcing physical contact.

The mother of the teenage student said her son is now depressed, sad, secretive, suicidal, isolated and in “deep emotional pain.”

“Before Brian Hathway abused my son he was a sweet, shy and happy boy that enjoyed life,” the mother said through tears. “Now he is in deep emotional pain and lashes out at those around him, trying to cope."

“I trusted Brian Hathway. I believed he was trying to help my son. How can a teacher do this to my child?”

The victim’s father, who was not in court, said he has “completely failed him as a father.”

“I have died inside, knowing I failed to protect my son from you. How could you have done this to him?

“We are all your victims.”

While family members cried openly in court and the Crown attorney fought back tears, Hathway stared blankly at the table in front of him as he sat beside defence attorney David Doney.

He did not look at the family as they read their victim impact statements.

Asked by the judge if he had anything to say, Hathway stood and said “I’d like to apologize greatly for my actions your honour.”

He later asked that a sentencing condition that prevented him from being in a position of trust around people under the age of 18 be amended so that he could have supervised visits with a teenage niece.

Justice Amlin said the five letters of support Hathway presented at sentencing, as well as the pre-sentence report, were positive.

“Somewhere, somehow, you got off track,” she said to him.

“You’re going to have to live with what this young man is going to have to live with for the rest of his life, and his family,” Amlin said.

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Tony Saxon

About the Author: Tony Saxon

Tony Saxon has had a rich and varied 30 year career as a journalist, an award winning correspondent, columnist, reporter, feature writer and photographer.
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