Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Teacher pleads guilty to luring teenager online

teachers apple Today’s Star reports of a teacher pleading guilty to luring a teenager online in Brampton.  What is unusual about the incident, and plea, is that according to the agreed statement of facts, the teacher did not initiate the contact, nor did she express any sort of romantic interest in the boy.  It appears from the article that the young man contacted her and spoke to her about recent problems he was having with his ex girlfriend. 

Her plea was in connection to a week of inappropriate communications with a 16-year-old male student, whose communications with her began because he was depressed over breaking up with his long-time girlfriend.

By the time Calautti was arrested on Nov. 13, 2007, the boy had romantic feelings for her, although there is no evidence she had any for him. "They never met outside school ... there was no sex," Crown prosecutor Aimee Gauthier told the court while reading an agreed statement of facts into the record. No evidence about the communications between teacher and student were filed. Although the teacher was 35, the victim thought she was 24, Gauthier said, adding Calautti never told him her age.


It was clear from facts supporting the charge read into court that the victim initiated the communications over an MSN chat line as a result of his emotional breakup with his girlfriend, and that he, and not her, had romantic feelings.


The basis for the charge that she pleaded guilty to stems from the fact that she knowingly communicated with a person under the age of 18, whom she was aware had romantic interest in her and never ceased communications.

It is needless to say that sexual conversations between adults and teenagers is not only inappropriate, but also criminal in most contexts. 

However, does this now mean that simply refusing to end such a conversation(s) of a person who insists on discussing these things engage criminal liability?  At least for Ms. Calautti, apparently so.  

I always understood the law to state that there has to be an act, and a mental element to the offence.  I do not understand from the article in the Star how either of these elements were present to luring a young person for a sexual purpose.  At the very least it is an important lesson to be learned for teachers (or any other professional) out there who have any type of communications with their students or young people outside of their professional capacity.

TheStar.com | GTA | Teacher pleads guilty to luring teenager online

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