Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut May 16, 2017 - 7:00 am

Nunavut teacher gets house arrest for historic sex assault

Emil Arnalak of Arviat pleads guilty to sexual assaulting a young student in 1987

STEVE DUCHARME
Former Arviat teacher Emil Arnalak, 57, will serve four months house arrest for a sex assault on a young female student in the 1980s. (FILE PHOTO)
Former Arviat teacher Emil Arnalak, 57, will serve four months house arrest for a sex assault on a young female student in the 1980s. (FILE PHOTO)

A former Nunavut teacher will spend the next four months under house arrest after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting a young student inside his classroom during the 1980s.

Emil Arnalak, 57, listened over the phone from his home in Arviat as Justice Susan Cooper read out his sentence May 15 at the Nunavut Court of Justice in Iqaluit.

“It is aggravating that the offender was in a position of trust and authority in relation to the victim. Not only did he breach that trust and abuse his authority, but he did so in the context of the classroom,” Cooper said.

According to facts submitted to the court, Arnalak sexually assaulted a young girl who was sitting on his lap while the students in a class he was teaching watched a movie in March 1987.

Arnalak worked as teacher in Arviat for 17 years, during the 1980s and 1990s.

His classroom at the time of the assault was composed of either Grade 1 or Grade 2 students, Cooper said.

Arnalak will continue to live under the terms of a probation order following his house arrest and has been instructed to take counselling, Cooper said during his sentencing.

He will also perform 30 hours of community service.

Arnalak was formally charged in 2014 and pleaded guilty about seven months later. Cooper noted in court the nearly three years it took for proceedings to conclude and for a sentence to be imposed.

Arnalak was dismissed from his job as a teacher following the charges, but still receives a pension, Cooper told the court.

He has had a long history of substance abuse throughout his life, Cooper noted, and still struggles with alcohol and drug addiction now.

He sniffed propane for about 10 years, before he was injured in an explosion that left him with severe burns to his face and body.

“There is no doubt that Mr. Arnalak has struggles in his life and continues to have struggles,” Cooper said.

In the earlier 2000s, Arnalak contributed psychic predictions for the year ahead to northern news services, including Nunatsiaq News, as well as poetry.

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