Teaching assistant with Durham Catholic District School Board facing child pornography offences
Joseph Vermulst, 32, of Whitby, is shown in this handout photo. (Toronto Police Service)
Chris Fox, CP24.com
Published Tuesday, February 18, 2020 2:23PM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, February 19, 2020 9:47AM EST
A 32-year-old man who is employed as a teaching assistant with the Durham Catholic District School Board has been charged with a number of offences related to the production and possession of child pornography.
Members of the Toronto Police Service Child Exploitation Section arrested the suspect on Feb. 12 after executing a search warrant in the Thickson and Rossland roads area of Whitby.
Police allege that the suspect “made, accessed, possessed, and made available child sexual abuse material over the internet.”
In a statement, The Durham Catholic District School Board (DCDSB) said that it is “shocked and deeply disturbed” by the charges.
Joseph Vermulst, 32, of Whitby, is facing two counts of possession of child pornography, two counts of accessing child pornography, two counts of making available child pornography and one count of making child pornography.
The DCDSB said that Vermulst was immediately removed from his duties after the board learned about the charges.
“DCDSB has cooperated with TPS and Durham Children’s Aid Society throughout this active investigation and will continue to do so,” the board said in its statement. “Letters were sent to parents and guardians today regarding the situation as the investigation continues.”
Police said that Vermulst has worked as a teacher’s assistant at four schools in Durham Region and as a long-term occasional educational assistant at another four schools.
The schools he has worked at are as follows:
- Good Shepherd Catholic School, from March 18, 2019 to February 11, 2020
- St. James Catholic School, from April 1, 2016 to August 31, 2016
- Father Fenelon Catholic School, from September 1, 2016 to August 29, 2018
- St. James Catholic School, from August 30, 2018 to March 15, 2019
- St. Bernard Catholic School, from September 3, 2013 to January 31, 2014
- St. Andre Catholic School, from August 28, 2014, to January 28, 2015
- St. Josephine Bakhita Catholic School, from August 28, 2014 to January 23, 2015
- St. James Catholic School, from September 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016
The school board said that counselling and other services will be available through the schools for “students, staff and families who may be struggling.”