Former Red Deer teacher convicted of raping student loses his appeal

A former Red Deer teacher who pleaded guilty to raping a student almost 40 years ago has lost the appeal of his sentence. Warren Fertig, who is 73, pleaded guilty in November to one count of rape involving a girl during the 1970s. He was sentenced in March to five years.

A former Red Deer teacher who pleaded guilty to raping a student almost 40 years ago has lost the appeal of his sentence.

Warren Fertig, who is 73, pleaded guilty in November to one count of rape involving a girl during the 1970s.

He was sentenced in March to five years.

The Alberta Court of Appeal in Calgary dismissed his case on Tuesday, but the reasons for the ruling were not immediately available.

His former student said she had sex with Fertig for three years starting when she was 12 years old.

Fertig was a teacher and vice-principal of the school in Red Deer at the time.

After the sentencing in Red Deer in March, the woman who was raped said she found closure after his sentencing.

“The power is not with him anymore. That chapter in my life is now closed,” she said.

The assault occurred when the victim was 12 to 15 years old and Fertig was 35 to 37.

In March, Judge Norman Mackie told the court that Fertig’s behaviour was “morally despicable” when announcing the five-year sentence, which went beyond the two-to-four-year prison sentence recommended by Crown prosecutor Jason Snider.

Defence lawyer Alain Hepner argued for a conditional sentence of two years less a day to be served in the community under strict conditions.

Mackie said at times in the case Fertig referred to his own actions as “bad judgment.” The judge said it was more like a “string of self-indulgences.”

According to the agreed statement of facts, Fertig had sexual intercourse with the victim 10 to 15 times.

Instead of sexual assault, he was charged with rape, which was what the crime was called in the Criminal Code at the time of the offences.

Fertig was friendly towards the victim as soon as she began attending junior high classes at River Glen School.

The majority of the incidents occurred after she babysat his children while he was driving her home.

Fertig threatened that if she told anyone, her family would not be allowed to attend the school.

As both a school administrator and her employer, the judge said Fertig was in a double position of trust and not only did he breach the victim’s trust, but the trust of the teaching profession.

An undercover police investigation into the offences began in 2011 after the victim contacted police. She met Fertig to assist police in gathering evidence.

Mackie said Fertig was almost revelling in his past sexual acts with the victim and as a result Fertig was caught by the victim and smart police assistance.

The charge of rape was laid in September 2011. Fertig pleaded guilty after a preliminary hearing was held and he was ordered to stand trial.

The judge said the victim has turned out to be more powerful than her abuser.

Following the sentencing, the victim told local media that she got her strength back by reading her impact statement in court in January and the sentencing has given her closure.

She said she was satisfied with the five-year prison sentence and thinks it’s fair.

“It’s important that people are penalized because of their actions.”

— with files from Susan Zielinski and The Canadian Press

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