Calgary police have formally charged a teacher in connection with an investigation into “inappropriate sexual contact with a student dating back more than a decade.”
In January, detectives began investigating a complaint from a woman who was a former student at Bishop McNally High School between 2007 and 2009. The Calgary Catholic School District (CCSD) said they were notified of the investigation, but did not remove the teacher from the classroom due to the historical nature of the case.
Police said she told them she “had an inappropriate sexual relationship with a teacher” while she was a 16-year-old student at the school and alleged the encounters happened both at the school and at several different homes in the city.
WATCH: Staff Sgt. Dominic Mayhew said teacher Edwin Cay Arias, 45, is facing charges because he was in a “position of authority” over his alleged victim.
“Between 2009 and today’s date, I would say there’s been limited contact,” said Staff Sgt. Dominic Mayhew with the Calgary Police Service child abuse unit. “The vast majority of the contact occurred during those initial years.”
Mayhew called the charges concerning, saying even though the age of consent is 14 police laid charges because the suspect “was in a position of trust and authority over the victim for the duration of alleged offences.”
“Any time you’re charging a person who is in a position of authority, that is concerning to the citizens of Calgary,” Mayhew said. “Teachers spend a lot of time with students. We do put them in a position of trust. We understand that (teachers) are engaging in relationships with students all the time. This is a circumstance where that relationship exceeded what is normally the case and crossed the threshold of something that was criminal.”
Edwin Cay Arias, 45, was charged Wednesday morning with sexual assault and sexual contact with a youth by a person in authority. He is scheduled to appear in court June 20.
CSSD director of communications Tania Van Brunt told reporters Wednesday afternoon Arias was told on Tuesday to not come to work the following day, and a formal process is underway to suspend him with pay.
“There’s a number of steps that have to take place for the suspension to be official,” said Van Brunt. “He is no longer in the classroom and our HR department is working through the suspension process.”
WATCH: Calgary police have formally charged a teacher in connection with an investigation into alleged inappropriate sexual contact with a student, something Staff Sgt. Dominic Mayhew called “concerning” while promising to engage more with worried parents.
Arias has taught at Bishop McNally High School since 2005 and has been an employee of the district for 14 years. Van Brunt said the allegation came as a “complete surprise.”
“There’s absolutely no record of any issues with this teacher and he was very well liked,” Van Brunt said.
“We’re completely saddened and shocked by the situation and (are) doing all we can to support the people involved. It’s just unfortunate.”
Police said while they are not aware of any other complainants, they are not excluding the possibility.
“In a historic allegation 10 years later, there is always that possibility,” Mayhew said. “Based on the charges that are laid, we are interested in anybody that would have information.”
WATCH: Staff Sgt. Dominic Mayhew said police are standing by to support the victim of an alleged inappropriate relationship between a teacher and student.
Police said anyone looking for information about how to recognize signs of child abuse can visit the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre website.
© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.