A retired Saskatoon teacher has pleaded guilty to two counts of indecent assault related to incidents involving students in his care in the late 1970s.

Errol Frazer-Harrison, 79, admitted to fondling a student’s breasts as they sat around a campfire on an overnight school trip to Anglin Lake, about 210 kilometres north of Saskatoon, in 1977.

Another incident occurred one year later during another overnight class trip to Beaver Creek Conservation Area south of the city. A second student said Frazer-Harrison drove her home, fondled her breasts and asked what she would do if she kissed her.

Decades later the two women, now in their fifties, came forward and reported the incidents to Saskatoon police. The victims were students of Frazer-Harrison in Grade 7 and 8 while attending River Heights Elementary School in Saskatoon. A publication ban has been imposed to protect their identities.

“This is an extreme abuse of his position of trust and power he had over these young persons,” Crown prosecutor Sheryl Fillo told court.

One of the victims read an impact statement in court at Frazer-Harrison’s sentencing hearing on June 12, noting how the trauma has weighed heavy on her, and she blames herself for what happened.

“As I reflect back on my childhood I have shame, guilt, fear, anxiety, pain and anger,” court heard. “Mr. Frazer-Harrison targeted me and as I now understand, groomed me and then on numerous occasions over 18 months, sexually assaulted me.”

“He completely abused that position. I alone carried this for 40 years as a secret because I believed it was my fault. That burden was heavy and hard to carry,” she said.

In a joint submission the Crown and the defence agreed to a sentence of two years less a day to be served in the community with conditions.

Those conditions include a 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. curfew for the first six months of his sentence. Frazer-Harrison is also not to contact the victims, take sex offender treatment and have no contact with children under the age of 16 except in the company of an adult aware of his conditions.

Defence lawyer Chris Lavier said his carries a significant amount of shame, he has lost his appetite and his health has diminished - but he understands his pain pales in comparison to the harm he cause the two women.