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Ottawa Catholic school teacher facing 45 more charges of sexual assault

Even after speaking with 14 more people in this case, the Ottawa Police Service still thinks there could be additional victims who have yet to come forward.
2018-07-12 ottawa police headquarters MV6
Ottawa Police Service headquarters on Elgin Street. Mike Vlasveld/ CityNews

A 57-year-old Ottawa man is facing an even longer list of charges related to sexual assault of people under the age of 14 after police say more victims came forward.

Rick Watkins, also known as Rick Despatie, had already been hit with nine sexual assault-related charges in April after police investigated incidents involving multiple girls under the age of 14 dating back to the fall of 2020.

Ottawa police then asked for any other potential victims to come forward in the case, and since then officers say 14 young people have come forward to complain about incidents which happened while Watkins was employed as a teacher by the Ottawa Catholic School Board. Some incidents date as far back as 2004.

On Wednesday, May 26, Watkins, was charged with an additional 45 offences, including: 

  • Sexual assault (13 counts)
  • Sexual interference (13 counts)
  • Criminal harassment (11 counts)
  • Voyeurism (six counts)
  • Assault
  • Assault with a weapon

He is scheduled to appear in court, Wednesday.

The Ottawa Police Service is concerned there may still be further victims.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Ottawa Police Service Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Unit at 613-236-1222, extension 5944. Anonymous tips can be submitted by calling Crime Stoppers toll-free at 1-800-222-8477 or at crimestoppers.ca.

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