Toronto Police announced this morning that professor Benjamin Levin, Canada Research Chair in Education Leadership and Policy, has been arrested on five counts relating to the creation of child pornography.
A third year PhD student at OISE, who asked that their name not be used, had multiple classes with Levin. “I’m shocked; I don’t think anybody would have ever suspected” they said, adding “he was a great teacher and he seemed very wise.”
Levin has taught at the University of Toronto since 2005, at the Ontario Institute for Studies In Education (OISE). From 2005–2007 and again from 2008–2009 Levin served as Deputy Minister of Education under Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty. After Kathleen Wynne won the provincial Liberal leadership race, Levin was named to her transition team in January 2013.
Education Minister Liz Sandals moved swiftly to distance herself from Levin, saying in a press release that Levin work with the ministry has been suspended “pending the outcome of the investigation” and that his recent involvement had been limited to contract research projects and guest speaking roles.
“I am aware of the very serious allegations brought forward against Dr. Ben Levin” she said, adding that as this is an ongoing investigation, she would not comment further.
As a guest speaker, Levin has been widely in demand. According to his website he delivered speeches in the United States, Australia, Cuba, Denmark, Israel and England in 2012 alone. In 2011 Levin made a trip to New Zealand to speak at a conference for secondary school teachers.
In a press release, Toronto Police thanked their colleagues in England and New Zealand for their assistance with the investigation.
Levin did his undergraduate degree at the University of Manitoba and his masters at Harvard before coming to U of T for his PhD.
Levin appeared at the Finch courthouse this afternoon, where he was remanded to custody until July 10 for his bail hearing.
Laurie Stephens, Director of Media Relations for the University of Toronto, said the university would be releasing an official statement on the matter in a few hours.
Update: The University released an official statement at 4:30 pm: “The University takes these charges seriously and is cooperating fully with the police investigation in this matter.” The statement referred to Prof. Levin as a tenured faculty member and did not discuss what, if any, disciplinary process Prof. Levin will be facing through the University.