Remorseful Ontario Sex Offender Granted Law License by Appeal Panel
A Law Society of Upper Canada appeal panel recently granted James Maurice Melnick a license to practice law in Ontario.
He is James Maurice Melnick and he is soon to be a lawyer it seems.
In 2006, Melnick, then a teacher in London, Ont., pleaded guilty to two criminal charges related to sexual conduct with a 14-year-old former student.
Melnick taught the girl in Grades 7 and 8 and he was her guidance counselor. The two continued an email relationship as the child went into Grade 9, in 2004. The emails became sexual in nature and culminated in various sexual acts in a motel where the foolish Melnick took her for an overnight stay. Melnick was 27 at the time.
She was 14.
He didn't think her parents would miss the child who was out all night.
The police arrested him the next morning.
By August 2006, a judge handed Melnick a six-month jail term and a 15-month post release conditional sentence for sexual exploitation and luring a minor. He’s required to register as a sex offender until 2016.
In 2005, he was fired by the school board and the Ontario College of Teachers revoked Melnick’s license.
After prison he enrolled and graduated from Western University’s law school. While he was barred from being a teacher, he wanted to be a lawyer. However a section of the Law Society Act “requires that every applicant for a license be of good character.”
The law society, given his record of having sex with little girls, found that Melnick was not of good character.
He appealed and, on July 29, a law society appeal panel ruled that Melnick, indeed, had “good character” and granted him a license.
The decision cited Melnick’s remorse and rehabilitative efforts as well as testimony from Melnick’s wife and other character witnesses, which included the law school’s dean.
"It was a mistake. A very serious mistake I made that hurt a very great number of people. I’m aware of it and I own it but I don’t consider it a part of my character,” Melnick said during testimony. “I feel awful and very remorseful for it. I wish I could undo it more than anything but I can’t.”
Explaining his mistake he said, “I fantasized she was closer to 20 or 22 than 14. Really, I was acting more like I was 16. I knew I was in a spot I shouldn’t have been in.”
Probably will make a good attorney at that.
|Niagara Falls Reporter - Publisher Frank Parlato Jr.||www.niagarafallsreporter.com|| |
AUG 20, 2013