Former Napanee high school teacher pleads no contest to possession of child pornography, banned from teaching

Adam Prudhomme

Ontario’s College of Teachers has stripped former Napanee District Secondary School teacher Mitchell Skinner of his teaching credentials.

The decision, which came after he pled no contest to possessing child pornography during a hearing before the panel in March, effectively prevents him from ever regaining his qualifications to teach within the Ontario College of Teachers again.

Skinner was teaching English at NDSS in late 2017 when he was charged with child pornography offences and immediately placed on administrative leave. He was cleared of any criminal charges when the court ruled his rights had been violated under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms during the investigation that led to arrest.

“On Dec. 7, 2017, police executed a search warrant on (Skinner’s) residence and seized several devices, including (Skinner’s) cell phone and SD card, which contained child pornography,” reads a document released by the Ontario College of Teachers. “Police arrested (Skinner) and charged him with child pornography charges.”

It was noted that none of the material found was related to any students at the school.

The document also states police found messages of the accused  discussing child pornography and applications that can be used to hide some of the images from easy view.

Though he was cleared of criminal charges, the document notes Skinner pled “no contest that the images and comments found on his phone and identified at paragraphs 3-5 above belong to him and that the images constitute child pornography.”

It is noted that pleading of no contest ‘does not constitute an admission by the member as to the facts or findings in any other civil, criminal or administrative proceedings.’

In issuing their ruling the panel says Skinner “engaged in conduct unbecoming of a member…By possessing child pornography and attempting to hide child pornography, the Member has undeniably eroded the reputation of the teaching profession and seriously undermined the trust that the public places in teachers to protect children and serve as positive role models.”

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