Former teacher receives two years
Jaclyn McLaren, who had sexual relations with students, is now a registered sex offender
The mother of one of the eight boys preyed on by a disgraced former Tweed Elementary School teacher, Jaclyn McLaren, told a Belleville court she’s sickened by the predatory acts of the 36-yearold, who, a sexual offenders report indicates, has yet to grasp the impact of her relations with vulnerable students.
“Not once did it cross my mind that I would be delivering my son to a predator,” the mother, who can’t be named in order to protect the identity of her now 17-yearold son, told a filled court gallery, including McLaren’s parents and several relatives of the other victims during Friday’s sentencing. “I’m completely disgusted. It sickens me.”
Upon hearing her sentence of two years in prison, McLaren, donning black pants and jacket, took a final sip from a water bottle, before passing it to her family in the gallery. She removed a ziplock bag carrying an assortment of medication and other items from her bag, then her bracelets and earrings, before being handcuffed.
“Love you, Jaclyn,” a relative uttered.
“Bye,” McLaren replied. “Love you, too.”
The mother seemed to grapple with the two-year penitentiary term meted out to McLaren, which she deemed somewhat a double standard, as in her eyes a male teacher would likely be dealt with more severely. McLaren will be on probation for two years upon release.
“If this was a male teacher, what
The mother of one of the eight boys preyed on by a disgraced former Tweed Elementary School teacher
would the outcome have been?” she asked.
She took the public school board staff to task for not being more observant. The court heard during McLaren’s March guilty plea how senior staff warned McLaren against maintaining contact with students on social media. but McLaren continued.
“Why did not one teacher notice the bizarre relationship between teacher and student?” she asked.
Justice Stephen Hunter addressed that during his sentencing, saying McLaren had no prior criminal record and pleaded guilty at her earliest opportunity, averting the dragging of the victims through a trial.
The mother talked about her son going from being a good student and athlete to no longer playing sports and racking up suspensions since the ordeal she and several other parents discovered on Feb. 13, 2016.
“The reality of what was happening would hit home fast and hard,” she said, reading from her victim impact statement. “The first day was a blur.
“After word got out, he started to be suspended on a weekly basis.”
Court documents filed during McLaren’s guilty plea to seven offences revealed how she had intercourse with three of her eight teenage victims, six of whom were her former middle school students.
The distraught mother said once parents “found out what was happening right under our noses, we decided to go to the police immediately.”
She also expressed empathy for McLaren’s parents, who she said did not deserve to have gone through such a situation.
Justice Hunter said it is apparent by the victims’ statements that the impact of McLaren’s actions is “significant and troublesome in a smaller community.”
Hunter noted that while such a sentence never meets what victims deem as sufficient, he is satisfied it fits the range due to the fact she has no previous record and pleaded guilty.
“The court is mindful of the fact that it is at the higher range of sentences for offences of this nature,” Hunter said. “From the outset, McLaren indicated her intention to plead guilty and resolve the matter without necessity of a trial, which is significant. She deserves credit for that.
“A federal penitentiary sentence is substantial for a first offender,” he said.
McLaren felt she was unfairly portrayed in the flood of media reports following her charges, but, Hunter said, if anything, that just revealed the impact her actions had in a tight-knit community.
McLaren will be sent to the Grand Valley Institution for Women, where she will undergo sexual offenders treatment.
She will be registered to the DNA databank and barred for 10 years from attending, volunteering or working in any public spaces, including playgrounds, schools or daycares, where persons under the age of 16 are likely to be, unless she’s with an adult or permitted to by probation. During that time, she is also prohibited from using the Internet or social media, such as Facebook or Twitter, to communicate with anyone under the age of 18.
Back in March, McLaren pleaded guilty to seven of the 42 offences.
Assistant Crown attorney Lynn Ross said the convicted sex offender hasn’t taken full responsibilty for her actions, according to a presentence sexual-behaviour assessment from psychologist Tony Eccles.
“I had some concerns that Ms. McLaren wasn’t yet in a position to really understand the impact she’s had on these young men,” Ross said. “Ms. McLaren did not acknowledge that, as a teacher, she breached a position of trust.”
Yet still, she said, “I believe the sentence reflects parity with other offenders who committed similar offences in this country.”
Over several years, despite warnings in 2013 from her superiors to desist from carrying on as social media friends with her students, McLaren went from exchanging nude photos and videos on social media to performing oral sex and intercourse with some of the boys.
McLaren’s sexual deviance, which included performing sexual acts in the back of her vehicle, spanned from 2013 to 2016, when she was arrested.
On one occasion in 2014, McLaren “purchased beer and consumed it with two boys, then engaged in sexual activity with them in her vehicle,”
She had intercourse with one teen at her residence, just after he had turned 18, the court had heard. Phone messages uncovered by police detailed the encounter.
Police would later find one of the victim’s DNA in the vehicle.
McLaren at one point expressed concern about losing her career if her explicit social media exchanges were discovered. She repeatedly used Snapchat to send photos and videos of her naked breasts and vagina.
McLaren claimed she wasn’t aware the boys were minors, but didn’t take necessary steps to confirm their age.
“There are eight victims who received explicit material from Ms. McLaren,” Ross told the court. “Six of the victims were former students of Ms. McLaren.”
The reality of what was happening would hit home fast and hard. The first day was a blur.”
Former teacher Jaclyn McLaren appears in an online photo. McLaren, 36, was sentenced to two years in prison for having sex with students.