Former Quebec teacher gets 20-month sentence for sexually assaulting student
Andrea Janus, CTVNews.ca
Published Friday, August 29, 2014 12:59PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, August 29, 2014 2:56PM EDT
A former Quebec schoolteacher has been sentenced to nearly two years in jail for sexually assaulting a teenaged student more than a decade ago.
Tania Pontbriand was found guilty in January of sexual assault and two counts of sexual exploitation for a sexual relationship she had with a 15-year-old student.
Pontbriand was a physical education teacher at Rosemere High School, in a suburb of Montreal, when the two-year affair began in 2002. Pontbriand was 32.
The young man went to police in 2007, and Pontbriand was charged the following year.
During her trial, Pontbriand denied that a physical relationship had taken place, and several character witnesses testified on her behalf. The young man said the two had sex about 300 times.
The Crown presented DNA evidence from a sleeping bag that the two had used that contained both of their bodily fluids.
Back in January when he found Pontbriand guilty, Justice Valmont Beaulieu wrote that "The court is convinced that the accused used the victim to satisfy her own sexual needs, thus exploiting the victim's naiveté, his lack of maturity, his dependence and his trust while he was her student.”
In handing down his sentence, Beaulieu said jail “is the only suitable sentence” to show that society does not tolerate adults in a position of authority taking advantage of teens’ lack of maturity.
Beaulieu sentenced Pontbriand to 18 months in jail for the two sexual exploitation charges and 20 months for the sexual assault charge. Pontbriand will serve the sentences concurrently, and will be on probation for two years after her release.
The defence had asked for a suspended sentence, arguing that jail time would be more of a punishment to her two young children, who would have to get on without their mother.
The Crown was satisfied with the sentence.
“Well of course that’s what we asked for because of the position that she was in,” Crown attorney Caroline Lafleur told reporters outside court. “She deserved to go to jail.”
The Crown had said that the young man was psychologically damaged by the affair and had dropped out of university. He no longer lives in Quebec.
Pontbriand asked the judge if she could put off going to jail for a week in order to spend time with her two children in Montreal. Her request was denied.
With a report from CTV Montreal’s Maya Johnson