Drummer in Prime Minister Harper's band charged with sex assault on minor

OTTAWA - A schoolteacher who played drums in Prime Minister Stephen Harper's occasional rock band Herringbone has been charged with five counts each of sexual assault and sexual interference with a minor.

Ottawa police said they started an investigation in November after a complaint of sexual assault against a minor by a teacher "during the exercise of his functions as a teacher for Gr. 7 and 8."

They say there are concerns there may be other victims.

Phillip Nolan, a teacher at Ottawa's Avalon Public School, was charged over incidents dating back to 1998 and 2000, the police said.

Harper's office said it had no inkling about the matter.

"We are obviously shocked and disturbed by these serious charges," communications director Jason MacDonald said in a statement.

"No allegations of this nature have ever been brought to our attention. Anyone found guilty of these charges should face the full force of the law.

"Given that this individual is now facing charges, it would be inappropriate to comment any further at this time."