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Former Sudbury teacher jailed for sex abuse of student

Court hears teen's life was devastated as abuse sent him on downward spiral
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Former Sudbury teacher Damir Bulic, 46, has been sentenced to two years less a day in jail for committing indecent acts on a former student, who was left with long-term mental health issues as a result of the abuse. (File)

Former Sudbury teacher Damir Bulic, 46, has been sentenced to two years less a day in jail for committing indecent acts on a former student, who was left with long-term mental health issues as a result of the abuse.

In decision released earlier this month, Superior Court Justice Dan Cornell also sentenced Bulic to six months for sexual invitation to a person under age 16, a sentence that will run concurrent to the indecent act convictions.

Bulic was found guilty in July 2018, and received submissions on sentencing from Crown and defence lawyers in December. The Crown sought three years, while the defence asked for a nine-month sentence.

A publication ban prevents publication of any information that could identify the victim.

At his trial, the court heard that Bulic “engaged in conduct designed to befriend” the student, who was 12 at the time, taking him for meals and befriending the boy's family. He also began providing cigarettes and beer, “grooming” him for what was to come later, the judge wrote.

Bulic would masturbate in front of the victim, and encourage him to do the same. He also introduced him to pornography, bought him a sex toy and offered to perform oral sex on him, which the boy refused.

His parents eventually became suspicious of the relationship, and when Bulic tried to convince them to allow the victim to go with his family to Croatia, his parents had enough. Bulic bought a plane ticket for him anyway, and provided detailed instructions on how he could travel alone.

The family later discovered the ticket and the note, which “caused a great deal of conflict,” the court transcript says. 

Their son began having serious mental health issues, and in her victim impact statement, his mother outlined some of the effects.

“Our family witnessed our happy-go-lucky, fun-loving son disappear,” she said. “We had to watch him self-destruct. He turned to drugs and alcohol to numb his pain and shame. He became a sad, angry, depressed, secretive boy who viewed his family suddenly as the enemy.

“(He) pushed everyone away. He lived inside his head for eight years. He is still struggling with many issues because of these incidents and has only begun his journey to healing.”

The incidents came to light when the victim revealed the abuse to his girlfriend a few years later, and she encouraged him to tell his mother. Police were contacted a short time later.

His family is paying for therapy a private treatment centre, which is causing considerable financial strain on them, the court heard.

Bulic has been married for 20 years and has seven children of his own. He has no prior record and 16 letters of support were filed in court.

He didn't address the judge or family before he was sentenced, the transcript says. His sentence included a series of conditions when he is released. Bulic can't communicate or go anywhere near the victim or his family, must take counselling, not be alone with anyone under age 16 other than his own children unless he is supervised, and he can't have any unsupervised communication with anyone under 16, other than his children.

He's subject to a weapons ban, can't go to public swimming pools or parks unless he's supervised by another adult, and can't work or volunteer for any group that works with children.

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Darren MacDonald

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