Schools sack teacher after finding out that he faces sexual assault charges

Two primary schools in the Flemish Brabant municipality of Zaventem have sacked a teacher after it emerged that he is facing sexual assault charges. The daily ‘Het Laatste Nieuws’ reports that the schools in the villages of Sterrebeek and Nossegem dismissed the teacher after they found out that he stands accused of having sexually assaulted girls at a primary school he worked at in Leuven (Flemish Brabant). 

If convicted the teacher risks a 40-month prison sentence. The school in Leuven made him redundant after it learned of the allegations. However, he was able to find work at two other schools in Nossegem and Sterrebeek, two villages between Brussels and Leuven.

As he has no previous convictions, neither school was aware that the teacher faces charges for allegedly having sexually assaulted young girls. Both schools have now sacked the man.

The Flemish Catholic Education Board says that no central register is kept of teachers or other school staff that face criminal charges. The Board advises schools to always contact candidate teachers’ former employers before giving them a job. It is not clear whether this was done in this case.  

"We are in a void. Due to privacy legisltion we can’t just draft a register of this kind of data. The only solution at the moment is that individual schools pass on this kind of information. But even then they come up against privacy legislation. I think that a legal framework needs to be considered”, the Head of the Flemish Catholic Education Board Lieven Boeve said.

Since last year the Judicial Authorities have been allowed to inform schools if an investigation into sexual offences has been opened against a member of their staff. However, this didn’t come into play here as the man was starting work at two new schools.

Both schools are keen to stress that they have received no complaints about inappropriate behaviour by the teacher while he was working for them.

The teacher says that he will fight his dismissal, adding that it is unjust that he should be sacked as due to reports in certain media. 

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