National Post

Saturday, November 30, 2002

Acquitted teacher allowed back in class


(Laura) Sclater

Laura Sclater, the Barrie teacher who was acquitted last summer of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old student, was reprimanded yesterday for professional misconduct by the Ontario College of Teachers, but allegations of sexual misconduct were dropped and her licence to teach was reinstated.

Her licence had been suspended for all but one month since 1998, after the mother of one of her students discovered sexually charged notes written by Mrs. Sclater to the boy, calling him "hottie" and "big stud."

"A four-year ordeal is coming to an end for Laura Sclater and that's because the allegations of sexual misconduct have been finally and completely rejected," said David Matheson, her lawyer, after the hearing ended.

Mrs. Sclater is free to immediately return to teaching. Mr. Matheson refused to say whether she intends to continue her career as an educator.

In light of the failure of the criminal case, prosecutor dropped allegations of sexual misconduct that had been levied against Mrs. Sclater by the college.

She pleaded guilty to a single allegation of professional misconduct and received a reprimand. Conditions and restrictions have been placed on her certificate. The terms were not released.

The boy's family has also dropped a $2.6-million civil suit against Mrs. Sclater, now 32 and the mother of two young children.

At her trial last summer, Mrs. Sclater testified the notes were an immature and inappropriate attempt to relate to a troubled student on his level, and were never intended to draw him into a sexual relationship.

She was acquitted of sexual assault, invitation to sexual touching and sexual interference. The judge described the boy, by then 18, as "not a reliable witness."

A psychiatrist determined Mrs. Sclater showed no evidence of aberrant sexual behaviour and had not been pursuing a sexual relationship with the boy.

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