Former U of W Collegiate teacher charged with sexually assaulting teenage students
Winnipeg police have arrested a 46-year-old teacher who allegedly sexually assaulted teenage students.
Ishmael Mustapha has been charged with two counts of sexual assault and one count of sexual exploitation.
One of two female victims reported an assault in January of this year and police say a second victim was identified during their investigation.
“I think what is of concern is he was functioning as a teacher in a high school setting and the two victims were students, initially in a grade 11 setting,” Winnipeg Police Cst. Rob Carver told Global News. “So really, kind of the worst case scenario for parents, for society. It just makes people cringe.”
Police said the two alleged incidents happened between 2016 and 2018 while the victims were students at the University of Winnipeg Collegiate. Police sex crimes investigators said the accused developed inappropriate teacher/student relationships with both girls.
The girls were 16 and 18 at the time of the alleged assaults. Police said neither victim was physically injured, and that the assaults happened on school property.
“Whenever someone’s in a position of power and trust – and they abuse that and it involves a youth – I think there’s a real concern given the public nature of the role that there may be other victims,” Carver said.
Police said with one of the girls, the “grooming” started happening in 2015. Phone numbers were exchanged, text messages sent and inappropriate meetings were held.
Grooming is where an individual starts to set up a relationship with the intent to sexually assault the victim.
“Barriers are slowly broken down, the relationship is cautiously slowly moved in to a sexual realm where the relationship is absolutely inappropriate but it starts to feel normal,” Carver said. “So the victim initially doesn’t even know they’re a victim.”
The University of Winnipeg confirmed to Global News that Mustapha no longer works at the Collegiate. However, they refused to say when he was let go.
An arrest warrant was issued by police on June 5, and officers confirmed it would have been around that time when the school was notified of the allegations.
But according to at least one former student, complaint’s of Mustapha’s inappropriate behaviour shouldn’t come as a surprise.
“I got a few complaints, two or three official complaints from students about this specific teacher,” Jerico Nieves told Global News.
Nieves served as the school’s student council president in the 2016-2017 school year.
“The complaints were about inappropriate treatment, female students would feel uncomfortable in the teacher’s presence, inappropriate touching and remarks,” Nieves said.
Police are not ruling out the possibility of more victims.
Mustapha was detained but has since been released on a recognizance.
WATCH: Should teachers be allowed to go through students’ cellphones?
© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.