The trial of a former Vernon teacher charged with several historic sex crimes continued in Kelowna on Wednesday (March 10) with another of his alleged victims taking the stand.
Anoop Singh Klair, 40, is charged with sexual assault with a weapon, three counts of sexual assault, and four counts of sexual interference – one with a child under 16 and three with children under 14. The offences are all alleged to have occurred between late-1999 and 2003.
The alleged victim testified Klair touched him inappropriately in the summer of 2002 when he was just nine years old. A publication ban protects most of the details he shared as they could reveal the identity of Klair’s alleged victims.
The man said he never came forward about the incident as a child because he was scared and didn’t understand what happened due to his age.
“I was afraid I’d get in trouble for something.”
The first time he fully opened up about the incident was when he reported it to police in 2018, he testified.
Now working through his trauma with a counsellor, he said repressed memories containing further specifics about the incident and its repercussions continue to pop up.
“I remember going into Grade 5, I had difficulty urinating in front of other people. Before (the alleged sexual assault), I had no issues with that.”
Under cross-examination, defence counsel tried to expose inconsistencies in the alleged victim’s memory of the event, suggesting he had suppressed the incident for several years and he only came forward after hearing another alleged victim was planning to do so.
“I accepted it happened to me the moment it happened to me,” he testified, saying he never forgot what happened to him.
Klair still holds a valid teaching certificate but signed an undertaking in November 2018 barring him from teaching pending the resolution of a matter before the B.C. Commissioner for Teacher Regulation. It is unclear whether the matter is related to his criminal charges. A search of Klair’s name in the regulation’s discipline database returned no results.
It is unknown where, or if, Klair was employed as a teacher before signing the undertaking.
The alleged offences happened before Klair earned his Bachelor of Education degree; he would have been in his late teens and early 20s at the time.
The trial continues.
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