Ontario Law Society approves convicted pedophile's application to become a "child protections" lawyer
From P.#A5 in the Ottawa Citizen, Tuesday February 23, 2016, and from HERE:
An Ottawa family lawyer with a troubling past who is believed to have fled the country after being accused of sexually assaulting a four-year-old girl has finally had his licence to practise law revoked.
John David Coon abruptly stopped practising law and left Canada in December 2013, just weeks before Ottawa police secured a warrant for his arrest on charges of sexual assault, sexual interference and invitation to sexual touching on the child of one of his clients.
Now, a mere two years later, the Law Society of Upper Canada has revoked Coon’s licence to practise law in Ontario. According to the Law Society, the 49-year-old lawyer who ran a practice specializing in child protection was found to have engaged in professional misconduct for failing to co-operate with Law Society investigations.
The revocation of his licence comes two years after it was first suspended following a complaint by the Ottawa Children’s Aid Society. At the time, Coon was already under investigation by the Law Society following allegations by a female client that Coon had sex with her in his office.
But Law Society documents related to that suspension also revealed that Coon was given a licence to practice law in Ontario despite a history that included a prior criminal conviction for sexually assaulting a child.
According to the documents, Coon revealed in 2004 to the Law Society that he had been convicted of sexually assaulting a friend’s 12-year-old daughter in 1991.
Coon was given a conditional discharge and 15 months probation, meaning he wouldn’t have a criminal record if he followed his court-ordered conditions and stayed out of trouble.
Coon also told the Law Society that in the late 1980s he was attending a 12-step group program to address the “inordinate amount of time and money he spent cruising red light districts and hiring prostitutes.”
But the Law Society determinedthere was insufficient evidence to justify what is known as a “good character” hearing after Coon produced a “favourable” report from a psychologist who had treated him from 1990 to 1994, two favourable reference letters from past employers and another from his probation officer.
As a result, the Law Society closed its file in 2005. Coon was given his licence to practise law the next year, according to the decision.
Ottawa police now believe Coon may have fled to Cambodia or Thailand and have expressed fear there may be other victims.
“The Tribunal is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to believe there is a significant risk of harm to the public if the Licensee is permitted to continue to practice,” a hearing officer concluded in 2014 before suspending his licence.
In addition to having his licence revoked earlier this month, Coon was ordered to pay costs of $10,170 to the Law Society. The order summary indicates Coon was neither present or represented during his hearing.
According to the Law Society, Coon had stopped communicating with them in October 2013. He last attended his office on Dec. 2, 2013.
Susan Tonkin, a spokeswoman for the Law Society, said a past criminal record doesn’t preclude someone from receiving a licence to practice law.
“The Law Society recognizes that people can rehabilitate themselves. A licensing hearing panel is concerned with the ‘present’ and a licensing applicant’s ability to establish that he/she is of good character at the time of the hearing,” she said .