Phillip Nolan (far right) who plays drums in the band that often accompanies Prime Minister Stephen Harper, is facing multiple charges of sexual assault and sexual interference. In the photo, Harper and his band Herringbone are receiving applause after performing in Toronto on Dec. 1. Chris Young/The Canadian Press
Ottawa police have charged a 43-year-old public school teacher — who is also the drummer in Prime Minister Stephen Harper's band — with sexual assaulting two girls.
Police say Phillip I. Nolan has been charged with five counts each of sexual assault, sexual interference and sexual exploitation in connection with alleged incidents while Nolan was teaching at a school in the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board.
The alleged assaults occurred between 1998 and 2000.
None of the allegations have been proven in court.
The Prime Minister's Office confirmed Thursday that Nolan is the drummer in Harper's band, Herringbone, and that Harper has known Nolan for a "number of years."
"We are obviously shocked and disturbed by these charges," Harper's office said in a statement, adding it won't comment further since the issue is before the courts.
Neither Harper nor his office heard of any concerns regarding Nolan in the past, the PMO added.
Nolan removed from classroom
Police said the investigation began in November 2013 after a complaint about a sexual assault on a minor. The alleged sexual assaults occurred while he was a Grade 7 and 8 teacher.
Police said there could be more victims.
Nolan is listed as the music teacher at Avalon Public School in the east Ottawa suburb of Orleans.
The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board said in a news release that Nolan was removed from the classroom and assigned administrative duties after police began their investigation.
Now that charges have been laid, he will be suspended, the release added.
"This is an extremely difficult situation and as a parent myself, I share the concerns that our community is feeling. The district has resources available to support parents and students at the school level and on our district website,” said Jennifer Adams, the OCDSB director of education.
Nolan's online profile with the Ontario College of Teachers indicates he earned his teaching certificate from Queen's University in 1994.
In 2005, Nolan also received the Arts Educator of the Year award from the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board Arts Advisory.
According to the Herringbone website, Nolan has been the drummer for a band called The Centralaires and has "worked extensively in musical theatre" both on and off the stage in various shows, including The Wizard of Oz, A Chorus Line and West Side Story. The website was taken offline Thursday afternoon.
Anyone with information about this case is asked to call Ottawa police at 613-236-1222, ext. 5944 or Crime Stoppers at 613-288-8477.