The former UQAM teacher who terrorized a high school by showing off in front of the students believes that he is too great an asset for society, so that he should not suffer a criminal record.
“It is in the public interest that he avoids having one”, pleaded defense lawyer Me Annie Laviolette-Boisvert, this Friday at the courthouse in Montreal.
According to her, Benoît St-Onge, a geography professor who resigned from UQAM after pleading guilty to indecent actions, should obtain absolution for his crimes committed in 2018 and 2019, conditional on probation, community work. and a donation to an organization.
At the time, riding his bike on his way to work, he sometimes took advantage of his passage in front of the Saint-Nom-de-Marie boarding school in Outremont to show off to young girls, aged 12 to 14.
Fearing the presence of a sexual predator, the boarding school had deployed significant resources to protect its students, while trying to reassure parents.
“Since the event, I have been afraid to walk alone […], I am afraid as soon as I see a person on a bicycle, ”explained one of the victims, in a letter to the court.
In total, St-Onge has exhibited a dozen times to minors, although he admitted that he also targets adult women on occasion. And even though he prides himself on having had 40 therapies since, he is still unable to say why he mainly targeted minors.
“It is not an error or an impulse”, moreover pleaded Me Pierre-Olivier Bolduc of the Crown.
The prosecutor, who opposes any absolution, also recalled if St-Onge had explained his actions by the intense stress he was experiencing, there are many other ways to relax than to show off to teenage girls.
He is therefore asking for a three-month prison sentence, along with two years’ probation. And even if the judge grants absolution, he wants St-Onge to be entered in the sex offender registry.
Judge Karine Giguère will hand down her sentence next month.