Sentencing arguments are underway at the Montreal courthouse in the case of an elementary school teacher who has pleaded guilty to eight counts related to sex crimes involving five female students.

Dominic Blanchette, 29, taught at two different schools in Montreal North and admitted to using his influence as a teacher and basketball coach to groom and exploit girls as young as 10 years old.

The crimes occurred between 2017 and 2022.

Several of the girls delivered powerful victim impact statements on Monday, describing how the abuse they suffered destroyed their young lives.

One spoke about feeling powerless while the abuse was taking place and said ever since she's suffered from panic attacks and has trouble sleeping.

She also said she fears men, has abused drugs and alcohol and on several occasions, attempted suicide.

The mother of another victim said she cries a lot and is fearful that her daughter could be abused again.

The mother of one of the victims said the crimes came to light when she found inappropriate texts between Blanchette and her daughter on the girl's iPhone and a photo of a naked man on her iPad.

Another girl told the court that when she was 12 year old, Blanchette started messaging her, told her he loved her and spoke of his erotic dreams and fantasies.

Still another young student was in Grade 5 when she said Blanchette would try to touch her genitalia and kiss her while the two were at a basketball camp in 2019.


Blanchette addressed the court this morning at the sentencing hearing, and while handcuffed in the prisoner's box, apologized for his actions. He said he's gone through extensive therapy during his incarceration and now realizes that what he did was wrong. He also acknowledged the damage that he's done.

Blanchette could receive a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison.

The crown prosecutor is seeking a sentence of 7 to 8 years citing the young age of the victims and that Blanchette abused his authority.

The judge is expected to rule on the sentencing on Aug. 15.

With files from The Canadian Press