Local teacher gets two years in prison for sexual contact with minors
BELLEVILLE - It's two years in a federal prison for a Tweed teacher who committed multiple sexual offences with several students.
On Friday, Jaclyn McLaren of Stirling, received her sentencing for a total of seven sex-related charges based on her interactions with eight youths, some of which were her former students.
The charges included sexually exploiting two victims, luring two victims, possession of child pornography, making explicit material available to a person under 18, and making explicit material available to a person under 16.
McLaren had been a French language teacher for Grades 6, 7 and 8 at Tweed Elementary School from 2011 to 2015. The offences took place between 2013 to 2016 and her victims had been under 18 years of age.
Members of the public, media and McLarens' family and friends filled a Quinte courtroom and listened to the handful of other conditions Justice Stephen Hunter handed down to the former Tweed Elementary School teacher.
McLaren was sentenced to serve her time at Grand Valley Institute for Women in Kitchener, Ont. In addition, Hunter noted that she would have to register as a sexual offender for life.
In the sentencing, it was included that for the next 10 years, the former teacher is prohibited from being in public spaces, like parks, with anybody under the age of 16 years old, unless with a probation officer or authorized person.
Hunter also put in place a 10-year ban on McLaren from communicating via social media to any persons under the age of 18, adding that she is not allowed to contact any of her victims or their families.
Near the end of the sentencing, a victim impact statement was delivered by a parent of one of the young boys who McLaren had been in contact with.
“Not once did it cross my mind that I’d be delivering my son to a predator,” she said. The mother added that she was both “disgusted” and “sickened” by McLaren’s actions, and that her family is still feeling the effects of the crime to this day.
Despite winning the case, assistant Crown Attorney Lynn Ross said it’s hard to feel good about any incident that involves victims who were put into a situation of that nature.
She noted that she and defence council came to the number of two years after having examined multiple cases across the country of similar nature.
“I can tell you that two years is actually towards the top end of the range as Justice Hunter commented in his decision today,” said Ross.
While in the pre-sentencing phase, Ross said she had been concerned that McLaren hadn’t been in a position to fully understand the impact that she had on her victims.
“I certainly hope that moving forward she receives the treatment and counseling in the federal penitentiary system that will bring her to that realization,” she said.
It was also noted that McLaren herself had also asked for a penitentiary sentence so that she would be able to access a wider selection of treatment and programs, such as counseling.
Once the former teacher completes her sentence, she will serve two years probation and must remain free of all intoxicants like drugs and alcohol.
McLaren, like any offender in Canada’s justice system, will be entitled to the parole provisions of the criminal code, noted Ross.
In the final moments, Justice Hunter addressed McLaren and said what she had done was a “breech of trust” and that the punishment was “substantial for a first time offender.”
Before being handcuffed, McLaren handed over her purse to a female sitting in the row behind her. Taking one last look at her friends and family, she managed a smile and an “I love you” as she was lead away.
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