August 18, 2019
York Latest News | Chellie Pingree | Bangor Metro | Paupers' Grave | Today's Paper

Expert: Maine teacher and student exchanged nearly 200 calls and texts

Shawn St. Hilaire | Seacoast Online
Shawn St. Hilaire | Seacoast Online
The trial of former Kennebunk High School Teacher Jill Lamontagne, who is accused of having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old student in 2017, is underway in York County Superior Court.

In the second day of testimony in the trial of a former K ennebunk High School teacher charged with sexual assault of a student, the jury heard from a forensic expert who testified that there were more than 80 telephone calls and nearly 100 text messages over a six month period between her cellphone number and that student.

Detective Fred Williams from the Saco Police Department is a cyber forensic and cyber security expert. Williams testified that on June 12, 2017, Kennebunk police Detective Steve Borst, the lead investigator on the case, gave him the cellphone that belonged to the student. Prosecutors entered several pages of text messages into evidence taken from the student’s cellphone and allegedly sent from former KHS health teacher Jill Lamontagne’s cellphone.

Lamontagne is facing six Class C felony counts of gross sexual assault of an individual whom she had “instructional, supervisory, or disciplinary authority over,” two Class D misdemeanor counts of unlawful sexual contact, and six Class D misdemeanor counts of sexual abuse of a minor.

The trial began Monday when the 12-member jury heard from prosecutors who said Lamontagne used social media and text messages to communicate with the student she stands accused of sexually assaulting “in the classroom, in her car and at her house,” and her defense who says she never assaulted the teen, but saw a student who was struggling to graduate and stepped in to help him.

The phone number entered into evidence in court Tuesday was confirmed by the prosecution and the defense to be Lamontagne’s cellphone number at the time of the alleged sexual contact with the student.

One text message highlighted by the prosecution and read by Williams to the jury Tuesday said “can’t stop thinking about you.”

The student, who is now 19 and has since graduated from Kennebunk High School, returned to the stand Tuesday morning with conflicting testimony about the dates of the alleged sexual encounters when he was questioned by Lamontagne’s defense attorney, Scott Gardner.

On Monday, the student testified that oral sex between him and Lamontagne occurred in February and March of 2017 in Lamontagne’s classroom, but when pressed by Gardner on the stand Tuesday, the student said the incidents occurred just in February.

During Borst’s testimony Tuesday morning he said that he was denied access to the student’s cellphone, and his father also refused to allow the student to be interviewed by Borst during the initial investigation on April 3, 2017. Borst testified that the investigation closed on April 5, 2017, and Lamontagne, who had been placed on leave pending the investigation, was reinstated at KHS as a teacher.

Borst reopened the investigation on June 13, 2017, the day after he received a phone call from the alleged victim’s mother, and was given the student’s cellphone. He took it to Williams, who extracted the data including phone calls and text messages from the number belonging to Lamontagne.

During his testimony, Borst described a screenshot of the song “Who I am with you” by Chris Young with a text reading “Listen to the words. You won’t like the song, but listen to the words.” The text and screenshot were sent to the alleged victim’s cellphone from Lamontagne’s cellphone number.

Borst was also shown photos that his team took of the inside of Lamontagne’s home when they executed a search warrant last July.

The student testified earlier that Lamontagne’s couch was green and there was an area rug in the room. Borst looked at the photos of the room Tuesday and testified that the couch was not any shade of green, and that there was a mat in front of a sliding glass door but no area rug in the room.

The student’s mother also took the stand Tuesday saying that she called Borst after she found her son “on the couch with pill bottles around him and he was unconscious,” on June 9, 2017, when the family returned home from the Senior Assembly at KHS, a graduation event the student should have been at but was absent.

The student’s mother was tearful on the stand as she described that day. She said she was able to rouse her son, who walked out of the home on his own, and she and her husband drove him to the hospital.

Court documents show that the student was admitted to Maine Medical Center in Portland on June 9 for the ingestion of Tylenol, ibuprofen, cold medicine and Warfarin. The student testified that he also consumed “six or seven Twisted Teas.”

During Gardner’s cross examination he asked the student’s mother if she was aware that her son had skipped 66 classes at KHS during his senior year. She testified that he was a very good student at his vocational classes in Biddeford, and was only at KHS for the afternoon.

“Were you aware that he was skipping classes?” Gardner asked.

“Sure, yes,” she answered, though she testified that she had not checked Powerschool, the electronic system used by KHS to record grades and attendance, and did not know the number of classes he had missed.

Gardner also pressed her on her son’s drug and alcohol use. She testified that she knew he smoked marijuana and she also knew that he smoked dabs, a highly potent marijuana concentrate.

The student’s father also took the stand. He described himself to the jury as a stay-at-home father to the family’s four children ages 19, 17, 15 and 13. He told Borst in March that the alleged sexual abuse didn’t happen because he said he believed his son at the time.

The father testified Tuesday that he consulted a lawyer in June and filed paperwork so that he could pursue legal action and damages against Kennebunk High School. He said he was “very angry and upset with the high school and how they handled this. Everyone knew my son’s name and what was going on, it was all over town. What they did was terrible.”

Gardner asked if he told Borst in June of 2017 that he was going to take legal action against the school and seek monetary damages.

The student’s father testified that he did, but that it “wasn’t really for the money. Financial gain is irrelevant to what happened. We need an apology from the school.”

A friend of the alleged victim, Caleb Shields, was called to the stand by prosecutors Tuesday. Shields is a 2017 graduate of KHS and said the two had been friends since sixth grade. He said he gave the alleged victim a ride to Lamontagne’s house in May 2017. He testified that Lamontagne had called his phone looking for the alleged victim and told him to “Tell him I love him.”

When Gardner played an interview conducted by Kennebunk Police Detective Steve Borst on Aug. 10, 2017, Shields didn’t tell the detective the same thing.

Shields grew testy when pressed by the defense on specific details.

“Maybe that was a text she sent,” he said. “It is the truth. I’m just here for the truth, which I’m giving.”

Follow the Bangor Daily News on Facebook for the latest Maine news.

 



Have feedback? Want to know more? Send us ideas for follow-up stories.

You may also like