Winnipeg man facing child pornography charges last worked as teacher in Manitoba

Winnipeg man facing child pornography charges last worked as teacher in Manitoba

Jul 11, 2023 – CBC News

A 59-year-old who was charged with accessing and possessing child pornography recently worked at a school in Manitoba. (CBC)

A Winnipeg man accused of accessing and possessing child pornography had been teaching in a community on the east side of Lake Winnipeg at the end of the 2022-23 school year. 

Alan Veness worked at Black River Anishinabe School, just over 150 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg, from April to June, Frontier School Division chief superintendent Reg Klassen confirmed Tuesday.

Veness, 59, taught a class of Grade 7 and Grade 8 students at the school — which has an enrolment of about 230 people and runs from nursery to Grade 10, according to the Frontier School Division website

“We do our due diligence every time in terms of reference checks in terms of following up in terms of, putting the name out there to see if there’s anything like that, we asked for child abuse registry checks, all those things,” said Klassen. “But until such time that charges are laid, even if there is an ongoing investigation, it wouldn’t come to our attention.”

Klassen said the division also did its own checking after learning about the police investigation. He said there was lots of team teaching going on due to the challenging nature of the class and that there was an educational assistant present “just about all the time.” 

He doesn’t believe any wrongdoing occurred during Veness’ time at Black River Anishinabe School. 

“We also have taken the steps to freeze any of his accounts that he had with our school,” said Klassen. “Every teacher gets an email account and should the police want to investigate that, we will make that available to them.” 

Investigation into IP address began in January 

Winnipeg Police said July 7 they’d arrested a man who had been a teacher for more than a decade for possession of child pornography.

Officers executed a search warrant in the Seven Oaks neighbourhood on July 5, where they allegedly found child sexual abuse imagery during the search and seized several electronic storage devices, police said. 

When contacted over the phone by CBC last week, Veness said he couldn’t comment, on the advice of his lawyer.

Police said their investigation began in January, when they were alerted that an internet protocol address within Winnipeg was involved in uploading child sexual abuse imagery, according to police. 

Worked at various schools: police

Veness had worked in various school divisions in Winnipeg and Manitoba over the last 15 years, police said. 

He completed a one month term as a substitute teacher in the River East Transcona School Division during the 2022-23 school year up until February, superintendent Sandra Herbst said in a statement Monday. 

The St. James-Assiniboia School Division said it had no record of Veness working for them. Additionally, the Pembina Trails, Louis Riel and Flin Flon School Divisions said he didn’t work for them either. 

Minutes from a November 2021 Seven Oaks School Division board meeting indicate Veness was appointed to a substitute teacher contract with that division.

Superintendent Brian O’Leary previously confirmed Veness was listed as a substitute with Seven Oaks in 2021, but said there is no record of him actually working for the division. 

He isn’t currently on the division’s substitute teacher list, O’Leary previously said in an email. 

Veness was also a substitute teacher for the Winnipeg School Division with “limited” placements, a spokesperson previously told CBC Manitoba. He was last employed by the division in 2014.

The Winnipeg Police Service’s investigation is still open. Anyone with information they believe could help investigators is asked to contact 204-986-6172.

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