Tony Spears (The Ottawa Sun):
He was an award-winning teacher, a man beyond reproach who played drums in Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s band.
But Phil Nolan had interests beyond music — chief among them a 13-year-old girl.
[On] Thursday, the disgraced 45-year-old teacher pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual interference.
According to an agreed statement of facts, Nolan taught the girl in the early part of the millennium.
He baited the trap when he asked her to his classroom, where they’d discuss her personal life.
When she dressed for a performance he told her to take off her bra so he couldn’t see the straps; he then pinned a microphone to her dress.
Maybe she hadn’t heard the rumours: According to the facts, students were warned not to let Nolan mic them up because he “will look at your breasts while doing it.” (Nolan was unaware of the rumour, according to the facts.)
Nolan, who often drove her back from school, made his move in her own home. He lay on top of her and said he really wanted to kiss her, the court heard.
And then he did.
Nolan taught her sex acts and arranged to be alone with her. On an overnight school trip he made sure that she had a single room so he could visit her in the night and abuse her.
“I felt ashamed about what happened and I blamed myself,” the girl wrote in a victim impact statement.
“I will never know who I would have been had I not been abused. I will never be able to tell what parts of myself stem from Phillip Nolan’s actions.”
Crown prosecutor John Ramsay asked for a four- to six-year prison stretch for Nolan, citing a report that showed he responded physically to images and sexual scenarios involving young girls.
Those tests “betray his true interest in children,” he said.
Defence lawyer Lou Strezos argued for a conditional sentence — essentially a term of house arrest — rather than the “crushing sentence” sought by the Crown.
“There are no other victims,” he said, noting the publicity the case attracted.
“His career as a teacher is over.”
Nolan, whose wife had found photos and letters the girl had sent him, will be sentenced next year.