UPDATE 6:45 p.m.
A Kelowna piano teacher accused of sexually abusing an underage student lost his teaching job with the local school district years prior, over voyeurism allegations involving a minor.
On Wednesday, police announced Neil Nein-Nein Wong, 54, has been charged with sexual assault and sexual interference over allegations that he sexually assaulted a child student over an eight-month period in 2021.
Police say Wong offered private piano lessons that he taught out of his home, and given his access to children, police are concerned there may be more victims.
Parents would contact him through an email address and later by phone to arrange the piano lessons, completely unaware of his past. The mother of one of Wong's former piano students told Castanet Wednesday she had no idea about his prior voyeurism charge.
Court records show Wong was charged in 2013 with a count of voyeurism involving a minor. In 2014, he received an 18-month conditional discharge.
A conditional discharge means an accused person avoids a permanent criminal conviction and record if they abide by probation conditions set by a judge for a period of time — in Wong’s case, 18 months.
The details of the voyeurism case are covered by a publication ban to protect the identity of the female victim, who was 15 at the time.
An unnamed consent resolution summary from the B.C. Commissioner of Teacher Regulation that matches the timeframe and case details related to Wong’s voyeurism charge reveals previous troubling allegations.
In 2012, he used a school-issued laptop on two occasions to access sexually explicit material during school hours while he was working. He had also previously been issued a “letter of direction” after hugging female students in a way that made them uncomfortable.
The teacher regulation file says Wong was suspended from the school district in 2013 and formally resigned his employment in 2015. In 2016, his teaching certificate was cancelled.
Archived articles from 2013 in the Kelowna Capital News and Daily Courier named him as the music teacher at Kelowna Secondary School at the time.
A former Kelowna Secondary student who was in Wong's band class at the time the voyeurism allegations were made told Castanet Wednesday "we weren't allowed to talk about it in school."
"And anytime parents would call the school to ask what was going on — we had a substitute teacher come in quite immediately — they weren't told anything. They were told, 'he's just taking a little bit of a leave.'"
"And then once he was gone, we were never actually given the information on what was done with him. I know, like, for me, it was stressful time," she said, explaining the allegations created a rift in the student body between those who believed the accusers and those who did not.
The former student said the news of the new charges facing Wong made her "so angry."
Last month, CTV News reported on a different teacher who was banned for a decade from the school system over an inappropriate relationship with the student. That former teacher was then advertising his services as a private tutor.
The provincial government told CTV it does not have authority over private tutors and encouraged parents to do their homework.
"We encourage anyone looking to hire a tutor to carefully review their employment history, including suspension of teaching certificates," a Ministry of Education spokesperson said.
But in the case of Wong — because the conditional discharge allowed for no criminal record and his name is redacted from the BC Commissioner for Teacher Regulation files — it's not clear how a parent would have a way to learn his past.
The recent charges against Wong have not been proven in court. He will appear in court on June 16
ORIGINAL: 12 p.m.
A Kelowna piano teacher has been charged with child sex crimes and police believe there may be additional victims.
Neil Nein-Nein Wong, 54, was charged last month with sexual assault and sexual interference over allegations that he sexually assaulted a child student over an eight-month period in 2021.
RCMP say their child abuse unit in Kelowna opened an investigation into the claims on Feb. 17, 2022. The incidents are alleged to have occurred when the child was taking piano lessons at the teacher's home.
Wong was arrested the next day and released on conditions to have no contact with anyone under the age of 16. On March 3, 2022 the teacher appeared in court to have the release conditions changed.
Crown prosecutors approved charges against Wong on April 22, 2022. He is now expected to appear in court on June 16.
RCMP believe the piano teacher’s access to youth means there may be additional victims or people with more information.
Police say Wong offered private piano lessons which he taught out of his home. Parents would contact him through an email address and then later by phone to arrange the lessons. Investigators have learned Wong taught a number of students out of his home and he taught online as well. The total number of students is unknown at this time.
It appears Wong was formerly a licensed public schools teacher in the Central Okanagan. Archived articles from 2013 in the Kelowna Capital News and Daily Courier named him as the music teacher at Kelowna Secondary School.
Online court records show the BC Commissioner of Teacher Regulation was in court in August 2015 seeking a transcript of a previous court proceeding, and an application by Wong to decrease the term of a probation order.
The Commissioner of Teacher Regulation does not have any discipline notices related to Wong in its database, although it typically retracts the name of teachers involved in sexual offences to protect the students involved.
“We are asking families who have received piano lessons from Neil Wong to contact the Kelowna RCMP Child Abuse Unit at 778-940-2240 and quote file number 2022-9344,” states Cpl. Tim Russell of the Vulnerable Persons Unit.
“The Kelowna RCMP Child Abuse Unit are an embedded partner at the Child Advocacy Center which coordinates multifaceted investigations and is dedicated to supporting children and families in our Community”.