For­mer teacher re­ceives two years

Ja­clyn McLaren, who had sex­ual re­la­tions with stu­dents, is now a reg­is­tered sex of­fender

Kingston Whig-Standard - - NEWS - JA­SON MILLER

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.”

POST­MEDIA NET­WORK FILE PHOTO

For­mer teacher Ja­clyn McLaren ap­pears in an on­line photo. McLaren, 36, was sen­tenced to two years in prison for hav­ing sex with stu­dents.

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