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Markham Tamil leader, tutor sentenced in sex offence case

A former tutor, realtor, philanthropist and leader in the GTA’s Tamil community will serve time in jail for sexual offences against a former student.

Following a trial, Sivasunduram Navaratnam, 65, was found guilty of sexual exploitation in March and then on Dec. 11, 2019 was sentenced to four months in jail and two years probation.

His conviction and sentencing came after police alleged Navaratnam sexually touched a student he was tutoring over top of her clothing and made inappropriate comments to her more than once in 2018.

Justice Peter Tetley said since the incidents, the 17-year-old girl, only identified in court as NK, has been struggling with a number of issues, including a fear of men.

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“She has felt degraded and recoils from intimacy as a consequence of the recollection of the inappropriate touching of a sexual nature by the offender,” said Tetley. “The consequences will be long lasting according to the victim impact statement…it affects school, relationships and self-confidence.”

He further explained the girl didn’t tell her mother sooner because she feared being held responsible herself.

“She remains concerned about the reaction of others within the local Tamil community and expresses potential concern for her own well-being… (after disclosing) incidents of the offenders sexual impropriety,” he added.

Tetley said Navaratnam, also known as Master Siva, was a “respected, trusted” authority figure in the community as a result of his employment as a realtor, his proficiency in tutoring, his business acumen in sports administration and his involvement in charitable causes in his native Sri Lanka.

Tetley said Navaratnam‘s relationship with the victim would be treated as that of teacher and student, calling his actions a “significant breach of trust and authority”.

He further insisted that despite the touching being brief and not skin to skin, it remains serious.