|John David Coon|
An Ottawa lawyer who left Canada after being accused of molesting a little girl was allowed to practise law in this province despite a past criminal conviction for sexually assaulting another child.
Now, the Law Society of Upper Canada has revoked the licence of John David Coon.
The 49-year-old left this country in December 2013, just weeks before Ottawa police moved to arrest him on charges of sexual assault, sexual interference and invitation to sexual touching a child — a four-year-old daughter of one of his clients.
Ottawa police believe Coon may have fled to Cambodia or Thailand and have expressed fear there may be other victims.
Coon had run a practice specializing in child protection. Good grief!
Law Society documents related to that suspension say 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 determined there 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.
Susan Tonkin, a spokeswoman for the Law Society, said a past criminal record doesn’t preclude someone from receiving a license 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.
The law society closed its file in 2005. Coon was given his license to practise law the next year, according to the decision.
|Ottawa, Ontario is the Capital of Canada|