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Wednesday, April 26, 2000Female teacher alleged to have had sex with team
Coached boys volleyball: Teens don't see themselves as victims
A female teacher at a suburban high school in British Columbia is under investigation over allegations she was sexually involved with as many as 15 male students, most of whom were members of the senior boys volleyball team she coached.
Police investigators, however, face a problem with the case: If the students are victims, none has complained.
Constable Mike Herchuk, spokesman for the RCMP, said police were only alerted to the situation because of an anonymous tip.
"If we didn't have a tip come in we still wouldn't be in the know because nobody is complaining about it -- there may be a few guys bragging about it, but nobody is complaining," he said.
"We have run into a lot of dead ends because many of the fellows we have interviewed do not consider themselves to be a victim."
In January, police received a detailed tip about alleged sexual activity between the teacher and some of her students.
The allegations are that there are from four to 15 victims, all of whom were 16 and 17 years old at the time.
"Our investigators started speaking with all of the individuals. Most of them are young men now in their early 20s. It has all been kind of through smirks and smiles," said Const. Herchuk.
"That is our problem -- we have none of these young men prepared to complain or state that they are a victim as a result of the actions of this teacher. Young men think like that. As far as the community is concerned, there has been no big outcry. It would certainly be different if it were a male coach and female students."
The National Post has chosen not to name the community or school to protect the identities of the alleged victims and teacher, who has not been charged.
The teacher, now 34, has since quit her teaching position and lives in another province with a 21-year-old man who is a former student, police said.
She started teaching at the school in 1991, when she was 25, and left at the end of the last school year. She has not been named and is described by police as an attractive woman.
Her departure from the school -- before the allegations surfaced -- was an amicable one.
The school board is waiting for the police probe to end before launching an investigation of its own, the spokesman for the school board said.
"The issue is a person in authority taking advantage, in this case in an alleged sexual way, of children under their care and I find that odious whether it is male or female," a spokesman said.
Police investigators have asked officers in Alberta to help their investigation by interviewing possible witnesses or victims now living in their jurisdictions.
The charges that could arise are serious ones, said Const. Herchuk.
"The information we have with regards to her activities would certainly lead to a criminal investigation in regards to sexual interference, sexual misconduct or sexual exploitation. She was a person in authority. She was a guardian and in control of the students she was looking after," he said.
In a separate case, Heather Ingram, 30, a teacher in Sechelt, B.C., pleaded guilty two weeks ago to having sex with an underaged male student. The two are now living together. The boy's mother has backed her son, and in a letter to the judge pleaded for lenience in the sentencing.
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