Warning: The following story deals with mature themes. Discretion is advised.
A former Peterborough teacher has been accused of psychological, emotional and sexual abuse by a past student.
Jennifer Louise Nugent, who formerly served as a long-term occasional teacher with the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board, is facing a formal disciplinary hearing in relation to allegations dating back to the 2013/14 school year.
According to a notice of hearing from the Ontario College of Teachers, Nugent was teaching at an unnamed school during the 2011/12 and 2012/13 academic years.
“In addition to her teaching duties, the member (Nugent) was involved in a number of extra-curricular activities including overseeing theatre productions,” reads the notice.
In and after 2014, the notice alleges that Nugent interacted with secondary students of the board in relation to her role with a community-based theatre company. Rehearsals and productions were staged on board property.
The alleged victim was a student during Nugent’s tenure at the school and also took part in a number of theatre productions she oversaw.
According to the notice, Nugent was involved in an “inappropriate relationship” with a student in or about the 2013/14 academic year that included exchanging text messages and expressing feelings of a personal nature, hugging, holding hands and engaging in flirtatious behaviour in the presence of other students during a theatre production.
Between July 2014 and December 2014, Nugent allegedly took the student on a daytrip somewhere in Ontario (the location has been redacted), invited him to her house and allowed him to stay in her home – including sleeping together in the same bed. She also allegedly purchased and/or consumed alcohol with the student, continued to engage in electronic communications of a personal nature and engaged in physical sexual relations and/or touching of a sexual nature.
The notice of hearing includes roughly two dozen electronic messages (email, text, app) allegedly sent by Nugent to the student.
One references an instance in the spring of 2014 when she allegedly invited the student to her home.
“I need that slow build… To bond as friends, and eventually become something so much more. I needed to sit on my couch beside you, shyly, on what if you think about it, was our first date – the night I asked if you would come watch Big Fish with me – and slowly move slightly closer until just our hands were touching.”
The messages included in the complaint paint a vivid picture of the alleged abuse.
“I’m sure keeping the secret of our relationship was hard, but I’m not sure if you ever considered how hard it was on me, too.”
“this wasn’t your standard ‘love at first sight’ kind of thing that makes your knees buckle…it’s more like finding a piece of your soul that you knew was lost, but never dreamed you could get back.”
“I described our first kiss…as one of those movie-moment kisses…and it was possibly the greatest I’ve ever had in my entire life.”
“I’m pretty in love with (Student). Pretty head-over-heels, thinking every song I hear is about us, picking out wedding colours, bursting to post a couple profile pic on FB (Facebook)…”
“…without question, we’re allowed to be a couple – a true hand holding, kissing in public, disgustingly perfect together boyfriend and girlfriend.”
“I want to ask if (student would) like to hang out before Christmas. And I’d like to ask if (student) wants to spend New Year’s with me. And I want to ask if it’s OK to hold (student’s) hand when it’s just the two of us. Or kiss (student). Or tell (student) that I love (student).”
According to the notice, Nugent also asked the student whether he wanted to get back together with her at the end of the school year and also expressed anger when he got a girlfriend.
“I need to know if I’m clinging onto a relationship that’s never going to happen. I mean, I won’t stop telling you that I love and miss you for a while,” allegedly states one of the messages.
“My end game is to be together with you,” allegedly states another.
In another, the notice states, she urged the student not to wear a particular tie to prom, as she had given it to him as a gift. Nugent attended the prom as a teacher volunteer.
“I miss you, (student). So much. Probably more than you realize,” allegedly reads one of the messages.
After the student completed high school, Nugent allegedly continued to engage in the inappropriate relationship, taking him on a cross-Canada camping trip in August of 2015.
“If you cared about me, you would have thought about how hard it is to walk the halls of the school where we first me and not have you be there,” allegedly reads one of the messages.
“I’m sorry that I don’t trust you, and feel taken advantage of, and cheated on, and cheated out of what is supposed to be the greatest adventure of our entire lives,” allegedly reads another.
“On some level, we have victimized each other, and that is perhaps what hurts the most of all,” Nugent allegedly told the student.
A date for the hearing has not been set.
In a statement, the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board noted that Nugent has not been in a classroom since November of 2019 with her employment coming to an end in January of the following year.
“In all things, the safety of our students is foremost in our minds. We take all allegations of unprofessional behaviour seriously, and we take action immediately in every case. We investigate every allegation. In cases where we find inappropriate behaviour has taken place, we take action against the employee, based on the offence and previous history,” it reads.
“We also, as a general rule, consult with legal counsel where appropriate. Our decisions regarding discipline are based, in part, on Ontario labour law and precedent. We contact police services whenever we believe criminal actions may have occurred. As is our legislated obligation, we also inform the Ontario College of Teachers whenever we impose sanctions on a teacher. The Ontario College of Teachers may then conduct further investigations after we complete ours. Any steps that it may choose to take in a case are in addition to ours.”
Click here to view the notice of hearing.