“She stole experiences from me,” says Winnipeg man suing teacher for past sex

A Winnipeg man filed a complaint and complaint against his former high school English teacher for having sex with him which began when he was 15 years old.

The man, now 22, says he suffered emotionally and turned to alcohol and drugs. The lawsuit alleges that what happened was sexual abuse, sexual exploitation and assault, and seeks more than $ 400,000 in damages.

He and the teacher broke their relationship at the age of 16, but rekindled it and made it public at the age of 18, sparking concern from his family and friends.

“Growing up, I started to realize that I was a victim,” he said in an interview with CBC. “What she did was wrong, and she should pay the consequences.”

CBC News is not naming the teacher or the school due to a court order protecting the man’s identity.

He filed a complaint in February 2021 against the teacher and the Seine River School Division, which employed him. He surrendered to Winnipeg Police in April.

The lawsuit alleges that other teachers and the school administration were aware of the teacher’s “illicit interactions and excessive attention” towards the student, but nothing was done to “curb or ban ”the relationship.

As part of the police investigation, a court ordered the school division to turn over the teacher’s employment records, the student’s report cards, and documents related to a division’s investigation into the police to the police. the case.

Police records filed in court indicate that the division’s 2018 investigation ended with the teacher’s resignation that year.

As of this year, she taught at another school elsewhere in Manitoba, according to court records.

Invited to the teacher’s house, the student says

The former student says the relationship with her grade 10 English teacher started with class flirtation.

One day, on his way home from class, he met the teacher driving by, he said. She invited him to her home, where they began to “kiss”.

She later came back to pick him up after school in the same neighborhood, he said.

“[It was] kind of like a place we decided on. I didn’t have his phone number at the time. We went to her house and slept together that day, ”he said.

I just looked at her… like a girlfriend, so I didn’t think about it. “

He says the teacher, who was 15 years his senior, told him not to say anything or they would both be in trouble, so he paused.

At some point, don’t you think you’d be wondering, “What is this kid doing here?” … It was in full view.– Former student

He wonders why no one said anything then.

“I was talking to him in the hallways – before school, after school. The janitors saw me,” he said.

“At some point, don’t you think you’ll be asking yourself, ‘What is this kid doing here? Why is he still talking to her, clinging to her like a little dog on a leash? Like, it was in plain sight. “

Man’s lawsuit alleges other teachers and school administration were aware of the teacher’s “unlawful interactions and undue attention” to the student, but nothing was done to stop it. (Warren Kay / CBC)

He thinks it would be a different story with a student and a teacher.

“They look at me like, ‘Oh, he’s just a little boy in love. That’s cute.… Laugh at it.’

“But if it was a girl doing this to the older man… I don’t think they would laugh or think it’s a joke.”

He says they initially broke the relationship because he feared he would get caught, but struggled with depression and drug addiction for two years because of it.

“She just made me feel guilty, depressed, anxious,” he said.

“I felt like she was the victim and I was hurting her… She manipulated me that way.”

She would include notes for him with her homework when she returned it, he said.

“I would open it. My heart would fall.”

The man says the day he turned 18 he asked the teacher for a date and they went public with their relationship.

“I thought that at 18 it would be good – like, socially acceptable. And then over the months I started to notice that it was not socially acceptable and that our relationship was based on sex and nothing. else, “he said.

After four months, he ended the relationship for good.

“I didn’t think it was really bad until I was… almost 20. That’s when I started making the mental shift, like ‘it wasn’t. not OK. “So it took a long time.”

“Non responsible” division: defense

The administration of the Seine River School Division and its lawyer, Bernice Bowley, declined to discuss the case while it was in court.

In its defense, the school division says it had no knowledge of “an alleged relationship or sexual contact” between the teacher and the student until the lawsuit was filed.

He also says that because the alleged contact took place off school premises and outside of school hours, and did not involve the teacher’s duties as an employee, “the division does was not responsible “.

The division launched its 2018 investigation after a half-naked photo of the teacher surfaced at the school, according to a Winnipeg Police Department production order from May 2021.

Police said that although the student and teacher regularly engaged in “consensual sex” in a recurring romantic relationship from February 2015 to April 2018, he could not legally consent due to his position as authority over him.

Teacher claims student raped her

In her defense filed in court, the teacher admits having had sex with the student, but says it was “because of threats of violence and extortion” by the complainant.

She claims the student used physical force and coercion to force her to have sex, threatening to report the sex to authorities.

She alleges that at no time did she consent to sex with the student and that “all sex amounted to rape”.

She also alleges that he intimidated her by showing a picture of him holding a gun, stalked her and forced her to send him an intimate picture of herself, according to court documents, adding that ‘she felt her life and work would be in jeopardy if she didn’t. t comply.

The statement also alleges that the half-naked photo was released by the former student at a bar.

She also filed a counterclaim against the student for damages, dissemination of intimate images and sexual battery.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

The former student denies the rape allegations and denies circulating the photo.

Teacher’s attorney Dave Hill declined to comment on the case.

The system does not protect students: advocate

Noni Classen, director of education at the Canadian Center for Child Protection in Winnipeg, says young people are often blamed in similar situations.

“[That’s] really devastating because that’s a lot of the wrong, and why it’s so hard for them to come forward and talk about it… They feel like they’ve done something wrong and they’re to blame. “

This case illustrates that “we do not have a system in place to protect children from sexual misconduct by educators,” she said in an interview with CBC.

Decisions about teacher discipline should be made public, according to Noni Classen of the Canadian Center for Child Protection. “It is in the public interest to be aware of people who are… disciplined in any capacity for improper contact with children,” she said. (Jeff Stapleton / CBC)

In Manitoba, the regulation and discipline of teachers is the responsibility of the provincial Ministry of Education, as there is no self-regulatory body for the profession, as is the case in some other provinces.

A provincial spokesperson said school divisions notify the ministry if they become aware of a sexual relationship between a teacher and a student.

The ministry refers these matters to a Certificate Review Committee, which holds a hearing and makes a recommendation to the Minister of Education, who can then suspend or cancel a teaching certificate.

When asked if any of these steps were taken with the teacher involved in the case, the province declined to respond, citing confidentiality rules under the Access to Information Act. and the protection of privacy.

28 teachers sanctioned since 2016

The province says it shares decisions on certificate suspensions or cancellations with teacher employers across Canada, but that information is not being made available to the general public.

Since January 2016, the Manitoba Minister of Education has disciplined 28 teacher certificates, for a range of misconduct, including sexual offenses.

In other provinces, such as Saskatchewan and Ontario, this information would be published online by teacher regulatory bodies.

“Decisions like this should be made known to the public because it is in the public interest to be aware of people who are… disciplined in any capacity for improper contact with children,” he said. declared Classen.

The former student says he decided to speak up because he heard the teacher was working at another school, and he doesn’t want the same to happen to another student.

“She stole experiences from me,” like having relationships with girls her age, and “stole a happy life from me… from 15 to 18,” he said.

I feel like whoever hires her should know the truth. “

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