A former Halifax-area teacher is facing 16 charges in relation to alleged sexual assaults involving students from the 1980s and 1990s.
Jaddus Joseph Poirier, 77, was arrested Wednesday in Halifax. He is facing three counts of gross indecency, six counts of sexual assault, three counts of sexual exploitation and two counts of each of sexual interference and invitation to sexual touching.
Those charges were in the criminal codes that were in effect at the time the alleged offences occurred.
Halifax Regional Police say the charges announced Thursday involve three male victims, who were youths at the time of the alleged offences. They add that Poirier was “in a position of trust in relation to the victims as a teacher.”
“I don’t believe any of the offences were committed during school hours or on school property,” said Staff Sgt. Don Stienburg, who heads the police’s sexual investigation team.
Police say their investigation began in October 2016 after several victims came forward to report historical sexual assaults from the 1970s to 1990s at different locations in the Halifax region.
The reports spawned Project Apollo. Former Halifax teacher and sports coach Michael Patrick McNutt, 66, was charged in January as part of that same project.
A spokesperson for the Halifax Regional Centre of Education confirmed Poirier worked with the former Halifax District School Board from 1984 to 2002.
“These are very serious and troubling charges. We appreciate the diligence of the police, and, more importantly, the courage of the individuals who have come forward to share their stories,” wrote Doug Hadley in an email to Global News.
“The Halifax Regional Centre for Education will continue to cooperate with police and justice officials as needed. In order to assist in protecting the identity of those who have come forward we will not be providing any further details at this time.”
Police echo that sentiment, and say they will not be releasing any further details — including where Poirier taught — to protect the identity of the victims.
“I do believe additional victims are possibly out there and again I do encourage them to come forward,” said Stienburg.
“Many times in these type of cases, there are victims out there that aren’t willing or aren’t ready to come forward so we’re hoping the attention on this case will bring forward more victims in relation to these type of offences.”
Police say Project Apollo is ongoing and that with more victims possible, the project could lead to further arrests.
Poirier appeared in Dartmouth Provincial Court on Thursday and was released with conditions.
— With a file from Alicia Draus