Sexual assault victims file civil suits against former Perth, Ont. teacher, school board

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WATCH: A former Perth, Ont. high school teacher currently serving three and a half years for sex-related offences is now the subject of two civil lawsuits – Oct 4, 2021

Jeff Peters was a teacher at St. John Catholic School in Perth.

In November of 2019, Peters was charged with a number of sex-related offences involving minors.

In April of this year, Peters plead guilty to sexual assault and invitation to sexual touching. He’s currently serving a three-and-a-half-year sentence.

Now, his two victims have filed civil suits against the former teacher. The identity of the victims who filed suits are under a publication ban.

Read more: Perth, Ont., teacher charged for historic sexual assaults involving at least 1 minor: OPP

The suits claim that Peters used his position of power and authority to take advantage of his victims.

“She’s seeking civil damages for what she’s been through,” Carr Hatch, an attorney for a plaintiff, said. “Because she’s 20 years old now, and her whole high school life has really been ruined by her teacher.”

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The first plaintiff is seeking damages of $3.5 million, while the second is seeking $2.5 million.

The final amount would be determined by the courts, or the parties if an agreement is reached outside of the courts.

In both cases, the monetary claims are being made due to alleged aggravated damages, future loss of earning capacity or income.

In both suits, the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario is also named, however, St. John Catholic High School is only named in one of the suits.

“What my clients hope to achieve is some accountability from the school board, and some compensation to try to help them recover from the injuries and harms they have experienced,” said Elizabeth Grace, an attorney for one of the plaintiffs.

Read more: Former Perth, Ont., teacher pleads guilty to 2 sex-related charges

“But it’s also filed to promote change,” Hatch added. “Changes by the board in terms of how not only the St. John’s school is run but also other schools under this board to make sure this type of thing never happens again.”

Global News reached out to the school board for comment on the suits but none were provided by publication time.

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One of the suits alleges the school board failed to protect the plaintiff from Peters’ sexual advances and that they hired him in the first place without making adequate inquiries into his character.

However, should this case proceed to the trial phase, that could take up to two years to reach.

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