An educational assistant with the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB) has been charged with sexual assault against three boys under the age of 14.
It's alleged that the incidents began in September 2022, Ottawa police said in a news release issued Thursday morning. The investigation began in November 2023.
Kevan Henshaw, 32, was arrested and charged on Wednesday, police said.
The English public school board said Henshaw, who was working on a casual basis, was prevented from working in its schools starting in November, when it became aware of a complaint "in relation to his interaction with students."
The board has also commenced legal proceedings and an internal investigation to determine any further action about his employment, spokesperson Darcy Knoll wrote in an emailed statement Thursday.
The OCDSB has been co-operating with the police investigation from the beginning, and is asking anyone with information to call police.
"These charges are serious and troubling," Knoll's statement read.
Could be more victims, investigators say
Henshaw is charged with three counts of sexual assault, three counts of sexually interfering with someone under 16 years old, and one count of luring a person under 16 years old via telecommunication.
He was scheduled to appear in court Thursday.
Investigators with the sexual assault and child abuse unit believe there could be other victims in Ottawa and Nova Scotia. Henshaw worked with Ottawa youth in other capacities, and with youth in Nova Scotia, the release said.
The Ottawa Catholic School Board (OCSB) said Henshaw worked on a casual basis at the M.F. McHugh Education Centre for children who are unable to attend their community school.
He has been "blocked" from picking up jobs since Nov. 23, board spokesperson Sharlene Hunter wrote in an email Jan. 30. That's when police contacted the Catholic board about an issue involving another school board, "and we immediately removed him from our casual list," she wrote. "It's important to note that the individual in question is not an OCSB employee."
The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre said Henshaw had been employed there on a casual basis between February and November 2023. He was placed on administrative leave and ceased working with patients immediately after The Royal became aware of the allegations, its communications director Karen Monaghan wrote in an emailed statement.
"Clients or families who have concerns about their care are encouraged to contact our client and family relations team," the statement continued.
Henshaw also volunteered with Make-a-Wish Canada for a "very short time," communications manager Kim Heron wrote in an email. He was removed as a volunteer in November of 2023.
"Like all volunteers, Mr. Henshaw underwent a criminal background and reference check before he had any involvement with the organization and at that time, no concerns were identified. Furthermore, our rigorous policy ensures that volunteers are never alone with wish families," Heron added.
Anyone with information is asked to call the unit at 613-236-1222, extension 5944. Tips may also be sent electronically to SACA@ottawapolice.ca. Anonymous tips can be submitted by calling Crime Stoppers toll-free at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).