Retired OPP officer convicted of 19 sex-related offences

Former OPP officer Robert Lewis leaves Orangeville court in May 2009

Retired OPP officer Robert Lewis has been convicted in an Orangeville court of 19 sex-related offences involving young boys dating back to the 1970s.

“I am satisfied that Lewis used his position of trust in order to inappropriately sexually touch and have the complainants touch him,” Superior Court Justice Joseph Fragomeni said in his 213-page decision delivered Tuesday.

The 62-year-old Lewis was found guilty of 19 of 25 crimes he had been charged with in August 2006. The charges involved fondling, masturbation and oral sex, sometimes in his police cruiser, and grabbing one boy’s genitals as the boy sat in his police cruiser,

“It’s been along time coming, but these results are great,” said the sister of two of the victims. “I would have liked all 25 counts, but 19 is good.”

The ordeal has been very hard on her brothers, she said, particularly the younger one.

“So we hope this brings closure, but it’s not going to change what happened.”

Lewis looked down as the verdict was read. He ducked out of the courtroom before reporters could speak with him.

Spectators in the court, most of them family of the victims, let out an audible sigh when the judge finished reading his verdict.

The identities of the 10 complainants and court witnesses have been withheld under a publication ban, which remains despite the verdict.

Lewis’s lawyer, Leo Kinahan, said he was “disappointed with the decision. I thought there was substantial weaknesses in the case.”

A date for sentencing will be set on July 5. Kinahan expected the Crown would ask for incarceration.

Lewis, of Fenelon Falls, Ont., retired in 1997 after working 30 years with the OPP in the townships of Downsview, Snelgrove (now Caledon), Minaki, Islington and Coboconk.

Caledon OPP charged Lewis in August 2006 after a complainant came forward. After nine more complainants surfaced, more charges were laid, several under the old Criminal Code.

Lewis was originally charged with nine counts of indecent assault, 10 counts of gross indecency, three counts of sexual exploitation and three counts of sexual assault.

According to allegations made in a $1.6-million lawsuit against Lewis and the OPP, the first complainant was sexually assaulted by the officer when he was either 12 or 13 and again when he was 16.

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