Michael Patrick McNutt leaves Dartmouth provincial court on Jan. 24, 2019. — Zane Woodford Credit: Zane Woodford

This article contains accounts of sexual abuse of children.

Michael McNutt has pleaded guilty to 35 charges related to the sexual abuse of 35 boys from 1971 to 1987. The charges — Sexual Assault, Indecent Assault, and Gross Indecency — are detailed in an Agreed Statement of Facts that McNutt signed on June 20. The document was submitted as evidence at court today, and obtained by the Halifax Examiner.

The boys ranged in age from 10 to 15.

According to the Agreed Statement of Facts, McNutt worked at “a permanent teaching position” at Sir Robert Borden Junior High from 1977 through 1983.

Sir Robert Borden Junior High School. Photo: Wiki Commons

McNutt agreed that as a teacher at the school, he abused 10 different students at the school. Evidently, some adults became at least suspicious of the abuse: “As a result of parental complaints regarding his behaviour with students, he was given the opportunity to resign in 1983, which he did,” reads the Agreed Statement of Facts.

The Statement does not say that the parents knew the details of McNutt’s abuse of children. Nor does it say that school officials took any efforts to investigate McNutt, or to make police aware of any allegations. McNutt was simply allowed to resign.

Possibly, school officials thought that by allowing McNutt to resign, they were sparing students from suffering the public embarrassment of being named victims of sexual abuse. Possibly. It’s also the case, however, that by allowing McNutt to resign without calling in the police, the school authorities themselves would not have to suffer the embarrassment associated with having one of their teachers named as an abuser.

And so, with no apparent police investigation, McNutt could continue to abuse children.

In May 1985, McNutt was hired as a substitute teacher by the Halifax District School Board. While in that position, McNutt abused boys at St. Stephen’s Elementary, Westmont School, and St. Joseph’s–Alexander MacKay School.

McNutt may have worked at other schools. He worked as a substitute teacher until 1994, when a sexual offence complaint was made against him. Other court documents obtained by the Examiner show that McNutt was convicted in 1994 for some unnamed “similar offence,” and sentenced to three years probation. He later received a pardon for that conviction, and so it did not show up on criminal records checks.

McNutt subsequently got a job at the KFC on Quinpool Road*, where he worked for seven years before retiring. He has not been charged with any sexual offences for the period when he worked at KFC.

While McNutt was a teacher, from 1977 to 1994, he additionally was the coach on many sports teams. The Agreed Statement of Facts lists some of them, but notes that there may be others; they are:

Sir Robert Borden Hockey Team
Pee Wee and Bantam football – Fort Needham Minor Football Association
Dartmouth Minor Baseball
Dartmouth Minor Baseball, Bantam A
Dartmouth Minor Baseball Team
Halifax Capitals Bantam C Hockey
Halifax Hockey
Summer Hockey League
Brunswick Invitational Hockey Tournament
Dartmouth Baseball Team
Halifax Capitals Hockey

The Halifax Examiner had previously obtained an investigative report about the McNutt case mistakenly released by the Halifax Regional Police Department. At the department’s request, we agreed not to make details of that report public. We will, however, note that it contains an allegation by a witness that McNutt was “removed” from his position with one of the sports organizations, presumably because its officials were aware of McNutt’s abuse of children. So far as can be determined, that organization did not call the police.

A predator

The Agreed Statement of Facts makes clear that there are many more than the 35 victims named — perhaps dozens more. The boys were abused in cars, in hotel rooms, in McNutt’s apartment, in hockey arenas, and in at least one case, in a school.

McNutt was considered the “cool” teacher, the “helpful” coach; he was trusted by parents, who often drove the boys to McNutt’s apartment.

In many of the accounts, McNutt plied` the boys with beer and booze, to the point that they would vomit and pass out. One victim, who was 13 or 14 years old at the time, woke up in bed and “recalls the room spinning,” as he discovered McNutt fondling him.

Many of the accounts include descriptions of McNutt performing oral sex on boys as other boys watched. Sometimes, he encouraged the boys to have sex with each other.

The victims were young, some of them pre-pubescent. They had no or little experience with sex, and often didn’t understand what was going on. They were confused during and after the attacks.

One account tells of a 14-year-old boy, who was friends with two brothers who were coached by McNutt. The brothers brought the boy to McNutt’s apartment, which was full of teenagers partying. “At one point, teenage boys were taking turns going into a bedroom and engaging in sexual activities with a teenaged girl. McNutt was saying things to [the 14-year-old] like, ‘you should really get a blowjob from her… it’s really good, you gotta do that.’ At the end of the night, [the 14-year-old] was lying on the couch when McNutt grabbed his penis and attempted to masturbate him. He was telling [the 14-year-old] to think of the teenage girl that people were engaging in sexual relations with.”

Some of the boys viewed the assaults as transactional, but of course as children, they could not provide consent. For instance, a 13-year-old boy McNutt coached in hockey “looked up to McNutt as a mentor and father figure… he wanted to impress [McNutt] and get a lot of ice time.” McNutt would perform oral sex on the boy, sometimes in front of the boy’s friends. “Often McNutt would perform oral sex on [the boy] in exchange for providing [the boy] with things such as alcohol, cigarettes, extra ice time, and time on the power play.”

One 14-year-old boy McNutt coached had a girlfriend. McNutt called the 14-year-old and offered to lend the boy his car in order to see his girlfriend. The boy came over to get the car, and McNutt fondled his penis. “[The boy] did not want to do this, but told McNutt he could do it to him if he would give him his car.” McNutt told the boy he could bring his girlfriend back to McNutt’s apartment to use his bedroom. They did, but after a few minutes together in bed under the covers, McNutt walked in the room unannounced, took off his clothes, and got in bed with them. The boy and girl left in anger, but the boy came back to return the car, and McNutt performed oral sex on him, as payment for use of the car.

Other adults

The Agreed Statement of Facts mentions that two of McNutt’s victims were introduced to McNutt by “an adult male” identified as J.G. One of the victims was then 11 years old. He “and his friends had been going to J.G.’s trailer at the end of Gaston Road where they engaged in sexual activities with J.G. J.G. promised [the boy] and his friends alcohol, drugs and a dirt bike. One day, J.G. said he wanted to introduce [the boy] to a friend of his, Michael McNutt.”

The boy, McNutt, and J.G., along with some of the boy’s friends, went to a hotel and drank together. Another time, the boy and his friends went to McNutt’s apartment. “McNutt asked him to sign a consent form for anything that happened there. [The boy] and his friends signed. They drank alcohol, watched porn movies and looked at porn magazines.”

McNutt hung out with the boys for the next two years. “During this time, McNutt performed oral sex on [the boy] on multiple occasions at multiple locations in the city. During some of these occasions, [the boy’s] friends were present and McNutt would perform sexual activities on them, as well as encouraging [the boy] and his friends to perform sexual acts on each other.”

A man who lives at the end of Gaston Road is also mentioned in the account of the assault on a 10-year-old boy. The man introduced the 10-year-old to McNutt, and McNutt took the boy back to his apartment. McNutt threw the boy on the bed, and attempted to perform oral sex on him, but the boy was too young to get an erection.

The investigative report obtained by the Halifax Examiner makes reference to two other adult men associated with McNutt who were named by victims as having sexually assaulted them. We are withholding identifying details about those men.

The Agreed Statement of Fact also documents that one adult man was in the same room as McNutt when he was sexually abusing a child, but it’s not clear that the man was aware of the abuse.

According to the document, during the 1973-1974 season, McNutt and his co-coach with the Needham Argonauts “rented a room at a local hotel,” and invited four or five players to the room, and served the boys alcohol and pizza. One boy “and some of the other players stayed over with the two coaches in the room. [The boy] slept in a bed beside McNutt, who was in the middle, and another player was on the other side of McNutt in the same bed. [The boy] wore his underwear to bed. [The boy] awoke in the middle of the night to feeling McNutt’s hand fondling his penis. [The boy] pushed McNutt’s hand away twice. [The boy] left the hotel in the morning and walked home.” The document does not name the co-coach. The boy was either 12 or 13 years old at the time.

McNutt will be sentenced in August.

* as originally published, this article placed the KFC at the wrong address.

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Tim Bousquet is the editor and publisher of the Halifax Examiner. Twitter @Tim_Bousquet Mastodon

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