Police are hoping more victims have the courage to come forward after a former elementary school teacher, charged with child pornography offences last year, is facing additional charges.
The investigation began on Nov. 6. Police allege a a man was viewing child pornography on a public computer at the Employment and Social Services Centre located at Lawrence Square.
Stephen Jospeh Schacter, 55, a former Toronto elementary school teacher and private tutor, was arrested on Dec. 16. He is facing one count of possession of child pornography.
“Evidence was uncovered by police indicating that there had, in the past, been allegations that Stephen Schacter had been sexually inappropriate with persons under the age of 18 years old, including students,” Det. Const. Joel Manherz with the Toronto police Sex Crimes Unit told the media on Monday.
Police wouldn’t comment on if Schacter’s alleged victims were male, female or both. But they did say the victims were in the primary grades at the time and are now in their 30s and 40s.
According to police, Schacter was an elementary school teacher for Eitz Chaim schools between 1986 and 2004. There are three Eitz Chaim schools located in North York.
Police said he was also a primary teacher assistant for Grades 1 and 2 at Pleasant Avenue Public school in 2004 before becoming the office administrator at the United Synagogue Day School, located in York, between 2005 and 2009. It is also alleged that he then worked as a private tutor from 2009 to 2011.
According to Manherz, after Schacter’s image was circulated through the media in December, three victims came forward to police claiming they had been abused in the 1980s and 1990s.
“It’s alleged that Mr. Schacter had ready access to these children as a result of his teaching positions and his status in the community,” Manherz explained.
On Wednesday Schacter was arrested for a second time. He was charged with gross indecency, two counts of sexual assault, sexual exploitation and sexual interference.
“The Toronto Police Service believes that there are more victims. Victims who need to be assured that they are not alone. That we can provide them with the assistance that they need and that their community supports them,” said Manherz.
“Some victims may believe that what happened to them will have no impact on the case but that is simply not true. There is power in numbers. Both in corroborating other victims’ allegations and, should we reach that point, in sentencing,” he continued.
Schacter said there has been some indications other victims have made reports to the schools but have yet to come forward to police with these allegations.
“I believe there are victims who have come forward to the schools, who have made reports to them, and that those are not the victims we’ve identified so far,” he said. “So far those victims are choosing not to make a statement to police and I think it’s just a matter of finding the courage that they need in order to come forward.”
Police are anyone with information to contact investigators at 416-808-8500.