Discipline hearing nears for disgraced London teacher who preyed on teen

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A disgraced former London teacher sentenced to 4 1/2 years in prison in 2023 for having sex with a teenage student will face a professional discipline hearing this month.

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A disgraced former London teacher sentenced to 4 1/2 years in prison for having sex with a teenage student will face a professional discipline hearing this month.

The Ontario College of Teachers – which regulates the province’s elementary and high school educators – will determine if Dustin Epp is guilty of professional misconduct.

Epp, who taught computers and physics at Oakridge secondary school in northwest London, obtained a degree from Lakehead University in 1999 and received his teaching certificate the same year.

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According the college, in the 2019-2020 school year Epp – a teacher for 20 years – engaged in a sexual relationship with a teenage student.

A friend of the teen informed a parent, who reported it to the local Children’s Aid Society, which sparked a police investigation, the college says.

As part of a search warrant, Epp’s electronic devices were seized and the data reviewed. Police found a 40,000-image collection of child pornography and voyeuristic images. Also on Epp’s cellphone were photos of three female students who were younger than 18 and didn’t know the images had been taken, the college says.

In January 2020, Epp was charged by London police with sexual exploitation of a young person, making a visual recording of a person without them knowing and possessing and accessing child pornography. Epps pleaded guilty in fall 2022 to sexual interference, voyeurism and both possession and production of child pornography.

At the time, Ontario Court Justice Kevin McHugh said his action were “extremely grave offences.”

“I’m extremely sorry for the harm which my bad decisions have caused. Other than that, I have nothing to say,” Epp said from the prisoner’s box.

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Epp disappeared before his sentencing in January 2023 and instead left an ominous note on his Facebook page. Police caught up to him six days later at a hotel in Sudbury.

According to an agreed statement facts, in December 2019, when Epp was 45, a 17-year-old student who had a “crush” on him asked for his personal email address.

The two began communicating several times daily and he soon asked her if she wanted to see him outside of school, telling her to keep it quiet because his job would be in jeopardy.

A few days later, he suggested she come over to his house and sent her directions. Her visit to his address was on Dec. 22, 2019, where the two cuddled on the couch, kissed and watched movies together.

The teen was at Epp’s home again four days later where they played strip chess and participated in some sex acts. Three days after that meeting, she was back at his place, where they became sexually intimate.

In May 2021, Epp’s membership status with the Ontario College of Teachers was changed to “inactive, non-practising.”

Epp, who doesn’t have a lawyer according to hearing documents, could not be reached for comment. His hearing takes place June 5.

hrivers@postmedia.com
@HeatheratLFP

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