Retired Hagersville teacher charged with sexual assault, sexual exploitation

A retired secondary school teacher from Oxford County is facing charges including sexual assault and sexual exploitation in connection to an alleged incident at a high school in Hagersville, Ont.

Provincial police said they were contacted on Jan. 25 about an alleged sexual assault that was said to have occurred between 2016 and 2018 at Hagersville Secondary School in Haldimand County.

Few other details were made public by police.

As a result of their investigation, police announced Friday they had charged Robert Mehlenbacher, 53, of Oxford County with sexual assault, sexual exploitation and criminal harassment.

Police said the accused was later released with a court date of March 19 in Cayuga, Ont.

The charges stemmed from one alleged victim, OPP Const. Ed Sanchuk said, adding police were continuing to investigate.

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In a statement, a Grand Erie District School Board spokesperson said officials were aware of the charges, and parents were notified about the arrest in a message sent home with students.

In the message, the school’s principal, Shaun McMahon, said Mehlenbacher was charged on Thursday and worked as a communications and technology teacher until November 2018 when he submitted his retirement papers. The alleged incident, he said, took place between January 2016 and October 2018.

“Grand Erie District School Board and the OPP take these matters very seriously. The safety and well-being of our students here at Hagersville is our top priority,” McMahon said in the message.

“Supports will be available Monday for any student who feels impacted by this event. They will also remain onsite for as long as needed.”

McMahon said anyone needing assistance prior to Monday should contact the Haldimand-Norfolk REACH crisis line or the Haldimand-Norfolk CAST line for students aged 16 and over.

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According to a public register listing on the Ontario College of Teachers website, Mehlenbacher began teaching in 2002.

In a statement, police said their investigation was ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to contact OPP at 1-888-310-1122 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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