Friday, October 10, 1997
Principal used student in pornA former Burnaby school principal exploited a young boy at his former school in explicit child pornography.
Court audio tapes obtained by The Province of last Friday's sentencing of former Clinton elementary school principal William Bennest reveal he acted on his sexual obsession with a 12-year-old boy at his school.
But B.C. provincial court Judge William Kitchen gave Bennest a suspended sentence, turned down the Crown's request that Bennest get counselling and called his child porn "relatively mild. They're not as extreme as many instances of pornography we see."
Kitchen said he believed Bennest that he didn't plan to share with other pedophiles the videos of "this very identifiable child."
"Mr. Bennest was in a position of trust with this young man whom he used to make videos, a collage of still photos, and cassettes," the judge said, adding that the acts deserved "repudiation and denunciation."
The revelation that Bennest's child pornography exploited a Clinton student has outraged parents and the Burnaby school board. They want B.C. Attorney-General Ujjal Dosanjh to reopen the case.
"This flies in the face of everything we were told by police and Crown counsel that no one from Clinton was involved," said Burnaby school board chairman Ron Burton. The board will discuss it next Tuesday.
"We want to know why the charge of making child porn was dropped."
Crown counsel Greg Webber told the court that Bennest made videos, photos and an audio tape of a "sexually suggestive dialogue" with the Clinton student.
Bennest told the child the video was to promote school sweatshirts.
Police found in Bennest's home on Sept. 6, 1996, a huge collection of commercial and home-made child porn, including videos of Bennest engaging in sexual acts with an unidentified male, over whose face was superimposed the face of the 12-year-old student.
In another video a young male impersonates Bennest's student and he and the principal engage in sex acts.
The 12-year-old boy told police Bennest did not touch him sexually.
But the judge concluded: "It's certainly not right to say the boy did not know he was being manipulated" for a sexual purpose by Bennest.
Parents plan to discuss the new information in the case, said Joan Carne, a member of Clinton elementary's parents advisory committee.
"This sets a very disturbing example for children, that Bennest seems to have gotten away with a great deal and received no punishment."
Created: June 20, 1999|
Last modified: June 20, 1999
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