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Teacher's assistant in Durham Catholic school board charged in child pornography investigation
TORONTO -- A teacher’s assistant with the Durham Catholic District School Board (DCDSB) has been charged in connection with an investigation into child pornography.
Toronto police say that they executed a search warrant at a residence near Thickson Road and Rossland Road East in Whitby on Feb. 12 and took a suspect into custody.
Police allege the suspect “made, accessed, possessed, and made available child sexual abuse material over the Internet,”
Whitby resident Joseph Vermulst, 32, has been charged with two counts of possession of child pornography, two counts of accessing child pornography, two counts of making available child pornography and one count of making child pornography.
The charges have not been tested in court.
Police said that Vermulst is employed by the DCDSB as a teacher’s assistant at the following schools:
- Good Shepherd Catholic School (March 18, 2019 to Feb. 11, 2020)
- St. James Catholic School (Aug. 30, 2018 to March 15, 2019 and April 1, 2016 to Aug. 31, 2016 and Aug. 30, 2018 to March 15, 2019)
- Father Fenelon Catholic School (Sept. 1, 2016 to Aug 29, 2018)
He also worked as a long term occasional education assistance at the following schools:
- St. Bernard Catholic School (Sept. 3, 2013 to Jan. 31, 2014)
- St. Andre Catholic School (Aug. 28, 2014 to Jan. 28, 2015)
- St. Josephine Bakhita School (Aug. 28, 2014 to Jan. 23, 2015)
- St. James Catholic School (Sept. 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016)
The school board said in a statement it was "shocked and deeply disturbed" to learn about the charges.
"Mr. Vermulst was immediately removed from his duties upon learning about the charges," the statement reads.
"DCDSB has cooperated with TPS and Durham Children’s Aid Society throughout this active investigation and will continue to do so. Letters were sent to parents and guardians today regarding the situation as the investigation continues."