National Post

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December 13, 2000

Affair goes from track meet to hotel rooms to courthouse

Gordon Kent
The Edmonton Journal
National Post

Rick MacWilliam, Edmonton Journal
Jocelyn Jaster leaves court in St. Paul, Alta., yesterday.

ST. PAUL, Alta. - A 25-year-old female teacher went on trial yesterday charged with sexual exploitation of a minor for having a three-month affair with a 17-year-old high school student.

Jocelyn Jaster, a married elementary school teacher, carried on a three-month affair with the teenager, who attended high school in the same small school in northeastern Alberta where she taught grade school.

The youth testified at the trial's opening day that he had no romantic feelings for Ms. Jaster before she asked to see him at a track meet a few years ago.

He testified that he went to her classroom about a week later and the teacher gave him a note outlining her "dreams of us," and kissed him on the lips. This led to an affair in which he spent most of the summer with her, having sex in her car or at her home.

Ms. Jaster and the teenager went to movies and baseball games and took out-of-town trips to Saskatoon and Banff.

Their relationship started to crumble a few months later after she gave him another note proudly announcing she was pregnant with his child.

Officials at the school, which includes students from Grade 1 to high school, soon found out and Ms. Jaster went on stress leave, never to return.

Justice Gerald Verville, of Court of Queen's Bench, says the case hinges on whether they had sex while Ms. Jaster was in a position of authority over the teenager.

Defence lawyer Bob Aloneissi suggested they were like a couple when they took their trips to Banff and Saskatoon.

"Physically yes, not emotionally," the young man replied. "It was always she was the teacher and I was the student."

He admitted writing to Ms. Jaster that he wanted to share the future with her and their baby after learning she was pregnant.

They discussed using his name as the middle name of the child, which she called "the greatest gift anyone could ever give her." But after she left the school, the relationship cooled.

The youth, who cannot be identified under a court order, said he only continued to communicate with her by telephone for the baby's sake.

That fall Ms. Jaster called him from Vancouver, where she was living with a relative, to say she had had a miscarriage. He flew out to comfort her but within about a month the relationship was over.

At one point he told police it was "a great summer," but on the witness stand described it as "a horrible time."

Under cross-examination, he admitted lying to police about his affair with Ms. Jaster because he was afraid and also wanted to protect her.

The youth is now estranged from his family and struggling to finish high school, and is suing Ms. Jaster, his old school board and the principal for $150,000.

But he denied Mr. Aloneissi's suggestion that the lawsuit is behind the criminal case. "I didn't understand what was going on at first. I didn't think I was a victim. Then I sat down and realized I was."

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