Former Ottawa teacher faces 45 more sex-related charges involving minors

Ottawa police say they are concerned there may still be more victims of Rick Watkins, also known as Rick Despatie, a former teacher accused of multiple sexual offences. Nick Westoll / File / Global News

A former Ottawa teacher now faces more than 50 sex-related offences involving minors.

Wednesday, Ottawa police announced 45 more charges against Rick Watkins, also known as Rick Despatie.

The new charges include 13 counts of sexual assault, 13 counts of sexual interference, 11 counts of criminal harassment, six counts of voyeurism, one count of assault and one count of assault with a weapon.

The charges are in relation to 14 victims who were under the age of 14 at the time of the alleged offences, police say.

These incidents took place when Watkins was employed by the Ottawa Catholic School Board between 2004 and 2021, according to police.

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Watkins was originally charged on April 20 with three counts of sexual assault, three counts of sexual interference and three counts of sexual exploitation of a young person.

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Police then put a call out for more information, suspecting there were more victims.

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Ottawa police are concerned there still may be more victims.

In April, the school board said Watkins was suspended March 9, when it was first made of the charges. The board said Wednesday that Watkins is no longer employed by the organization.

“The Ottawa Catholic School Board has been cooperating fully with the Ottawa Police Service since the start of this investigation. We will continue to provide support to staff and students,” a board statement said.

Before his suspension, he taught at St. Matthew High School in Orleans for over 25 years.

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He is scheduled to appear in court Wednesday. A justice of the peace last month imposed several conditions on him, including a ban on his communicating with anyone under 16.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Ottawa Police Service Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Unit at 613-236-1222 ext. 5944.

Anonymous tips can be submitted by calling Crime Stoppers toll-free at 1-800-222-8477 or at

— With a file from The Canadian Press. 

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