Disgraced U of T professor out on bail, but heavily watched
JUL 12, 2013 | BY JACK GROBE
Scandal rocked Queen’s Park and Simcoe Hall on Monday, when renowned University of Toronto Professor Benjamin Levin was arrested by the Toronto Police Sex Crimes Unit.
Levin, 61, and a father of three, is a tenured Professor of Theory and Policy Studies and the Canada Research Chair in Educational Leadership and Policy at OISE. The University of Toronto has declined comment to the press, instead releasing a statement: “The University takes these charges seriously and is cooperating fully with the police investigation in this matter.”
The charges arrayed against Levin are as serious as they are lengthy. Based on information provided to the Toronto SCU by investigators from New Zealand, Levin was originally arrested on five charges: one count of making child porn, two counts distributing child porn, advising the perpetrators of an indictable offence, and arrangement of a sexual offence against a child under 16. Anyone convicted on those charges faces anywhere from five years to life in prison.
At arraignment on Wednesday, Levin was charged with two more offenses: one count of possessing child pornography and one count of accessing child pornography, bringing the total number of charges to seven. As the police investigation is still underway, it is possible that additional charges will be brought against him before his trial in about a year and a half. Levin also faces charges in England and New Zealand, where police claim he disseminated child pornography and instructions on how to sexually abuse children.
For the 18 months before the trial, Levin has been released on $100,000 bail. Along with the bail, Court Justice Fergus O’Donnell laid out a lengthy list of restrictions on Levin. He is forbidden to access the internet on any computer other than his OISE workstation computer that is wired into the UTOR network. Under all circumstances, he is banned from using social network sites like Facebook and Twitter, along with using a phone capable of internet searches or taking pictures. For his residence, he is to live at either his brother’s home or his own home pending the acquiescence of his wife (who is currently on a remote canoe trip). He is also banned from leaving the province except to visit his father in Manitoba, provided he gives prior information on his trip to the RCMP.
This arrest has implications outside the University, as Levin just finished serving a five-month position as a member of Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s transitional team. Levin had previously served as the Deputy Minister of Education for Manitoba from 1999 to 2002. Levin later served in the same position for Ontario from 2005-2007 and as an interim Deputy Minister from December 2008 to June 2009. At first, Queen’s Park declined to comment and referred all questions to the Toronto Police. Later, Wynne made a statement saying, “I was shocked to hear about these charges…Insidious crimes like these are absolutely terrifying. The safety and well-being of our children has always been my absolute priority, and at no time did I have any suspicion of criminal behaviour. I am confident that the police and judicial system will address these serious allegations.”
the newspaper attempted to contact OISE for comment, but the Dean’s office declined comment, instead referring to the University of Toronto statement released earlier in the week. In addition, several Faculty of Education students contacted by the newspaper were uncomfortable with commenting on the scandal.
- Subtitle: University, OISE and students remain silent on child porn allegations against U of T professor
Editor's Note: The original version of this article used a Reuter's photograph, by Mark Blinch, of Liberal leaders Kathleen Wynne and Justin Trudeau attending the 2013 Pride March. The previous image caption identified the man sitting beside Trudeau as Benjamin Levin. The Newspaper has since received a letter from Rev Brent Hawkes, the ministry of the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto who organized the event, which states that the man we identified as Levin is actually a different person and a member of his congregation. We regret the misattribution.