Toronto Sun

Friday, July 5, 2002

Teacher must go, trial told

Cash not issue: Teen

By ROB GRANATSTEIN, TORONTO SUN

BARRIE -- As a 13-year-old, Laura Sclater stole his heart. Now he thinks of her as a criminal who should never be allowed to teach again.

In his final day of testimony, the teen -- who has alleged Sclater kissed and hugged him, allowed him to touch her bum while dancing and wrote him sexy notes -- said his $2.6-million civil suit isn't the reason he pressed criminal charges.

"I want to make sure Mrs. Sclater isn't put back in the classroom," he told Judge Harry Keenan yesterday. "I want other teachers to know it's not okay to write notes.

"The money is to help my parents to pay for the lawyers and things," the boy, now 18, said. "They had to suffer because of me ... It was my mistake."

The boy had his chance to tell Keenan why he came forward with the allegations of sexual interference, invitation to sexual touching and sexual assault following three fierce days of cross-examination by Sclater's lawyer, David Matheson.

CONSIDERED HIS GIRLFRIEND

He repeatedly testified he considered Sclater, 31, to be his girlfriend. Matheson asked him why in last year's preliminary hearing he answered "no" to the question.

"I didn't say I thought she was my girlfriend at the time," the boy said.

The boy admitted he doesn't have a specific memory of his teacher kissing him on the cheek, or of him sitting on her lap in the middle of class, as he has alleged.

He told Matheson putting his hands on Sclater's buttocks during a school Valentine's day slow dance was the most dramatic sexual event in his life. Matheson wondered why such a big event didn't come up when he gave statements to the police, or in his statement to his civil lawyer.

"I'm trying to forget this whole thing," he testified.

Crown attorney Frank Faveri rested his case yesterday. Sclater's defence starts today.

Copyright © 2002, Canoe, a division of Netgraphe Inc.