Cambridge teacher found guilty of sexual exploitation
After being found guilty of sexual exploitation, a Cambridge teacher faces a minimum penalty of a 45-day prison sentence.
Jacqueline Lavigne, 33, was charged in 2012 following a sexual encounter which took place the previous year between her and a 17-year-old student.
The student, who was being taught by Lavigne at Monsignor Doyle Catholic Secondary School in Cambridge, eventually threatened to alert authorities about the incident if she didn’t give him passing grades in her class.
Days later, he told other students that he and Lavigne had sex, which led to the involvement of school officials and police in the case.
Court heard that the two began chatting via BlackBerry Messenger, with their messages becoming sexual over time – including one in which Lavigne said her husband was away and the student should pay her a visit.
A friend of the teen testified that he saw a message sent to him by Lavigne, suggesting they go to a hotel room or have sex in her car.
Lavigne had pleaded not guilty, but did not testify in her own defence.
Her lawyer declined to call any witnesses or introduce any evidence on Lavigne’s behalf.
As the verdict was read Monday morning in a Kitchener court, Lavigne broke down in tears.
Defence lawyer Alex Munoz tells CTV News the verdict came as a shock to Lavigne and her family.
“We felt there were a lot of inconsistencies that were brought out through the trial,” he says.
Since the charges came to light, Lavigne has been on paid leave from the Waterloo Catholic District School Board.
A school board spokesperson says Monday’s verdict means she will now be placed on unpaid leave as the board works through its disciplinary processes.
“We have some legislative responsibilities as far as informing the Ontario College of Teachers as to what has taken place,” says John Shewchuk, adding that there are also internal policies the board must follow.
The school board is expected to make its decision on the future of Lavigne’s employment within the next few weeks.
Lavigne is currently free on bail, with sentencing set to take place in June.
Munoz says his client plans to seek the minimum 45-day sentence.
Under sentencing guidelines released months after Lavigne's arrest, the minimum sentence for sexual exploitation was raised to one year.