Former students sue deceased teacher, Calgary board of directors – Hope Standard

A class action lawsuit has been filed by three former students of a Calgary high school alleging sexual misconduct by a teacher who died earlier this year.

The statement names the estate of Michael Gregory, who worked at John Ware Junior High School for 20 years, as well as the Calgary Board of Education.

Gregory was charged in February with 17 counts of sexual assault and sexual exploitation. At the time, police said several former students brought charges against the teacher.

A few days later, police said Gregory had passed away and his death was not considered criminal.

For some former students, the battle in court is not over.

They alleged abuse by Gregory and also claim that administrators and staff at the public school board were aware of the charges but did nothing.

None of the allegations have been proven in court and no defense has been filed.

The school board did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A woman told a press conference on Monday that she first met Gregory when she was in 7th grade. Over the next year, she said, he took her under his wing and sexually assaulted her.

“My very first sexual experience was with my teacher at his home when I was 15. I’m 34 now and it has affected every relationship I’ve had in my life,” she said. wiping away tears.

“I decided that was enough. I never want this to happen to anyone else again… it changed me. I really feel cheated.

Another woman, who is now 47, was a student of Gregory in 1988 and 1989. During this time, she said, he “beautifully prepared and manipulated my confidence into a very inappropriate sexual relationship.”

She said she told her parents what was going on and showed them the gifts Gregory gave her, including jewelry and a book of poetry in which he placed a baby photo of himself as a bookmark. with an inscription on the back.

She said the school’s deputy principal dismissed her accusations as the product of “active imagination”.

On the verge of tears, she told reporters she wished she could protect others.

“I’m so sorry and so sorry.”

The two women said they spoke to other students who had the same experiences with Gregory.

Cody Bonkowsky, another former student, said he saw what Gregory was doing to teenage girls and confronted him.

“I have personally seen Mr. Gregory on several occasions engage in sexual conversations with my friends, who were 12 and 13 years old – student classmates,” he said.

“I actually confronted him… (he) pushed me against a wall and said, ‘They’ll never believe you and I’ll make sure they don’t. “”

Lawyer Jonathan Denis, who represents the plaintiffs, said Gregory taught at the school from 1986 to 2006.

“Sir. Gregory lost his teaching license in 2006, but it was too late for many students,” he said.

“Parents and students place teachers in a position of authority and trust. When trust is abused, school boards have a duty to protect students.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on November 29, 2021.

Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press

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