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Calgary Board of Education asks judge to dismiss sexual misconduct suit from former students

Michael Gregory is charged with six counts of sexual assault and 11 counts of sexual exploitation. Obtained by Global News

The Calgary Board of Education is asking a judge to dismiss a proposed class-action lawsuit against it, arguing that it’s not responsible for alleged sexual misconduct by a teacher who died earlier this year.

Michael Gregory, who worked at John Ware Junior High School in Calgary for 20 years, was charged in February with 17 counts of sexual assault and sexual exploitation.

Police said at the time that several former students came forward with accusations against the teacher.

Read more: ‘I definitely feel cheated’: Former students suing dead Calgary teacher, board speak at news conference

A few days later, Gregory died, and police said his death was not believed to be criminal.

Three former students filed a lawsuit last month against Gregory’s estate and the Calgary Board of Education.

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They allege abuse by Gregory and claim that administrators and staff with the public school board were aware of the accusations but did nothing.

Click to play video: 'Former Calgary teacher facing historical sex abuse charges found dead' Former Calgary teacher facing historical sex abuse charges found dead
Former Calgary teacher facing historical sex abuse charges found dead – Feb 23, 2021

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

The school board recently filed a statement of defence in Court of Queen’s Bench denying all allegations.

The statement of defence argues the plaintiffs were not within the care or supervision of the school board. But if there is a finding made that conflicts with that, then the “CBE was unaware of the alleged misconduct.”

Read more: Education minister to remove teacher disciplinary abilities from Alberta Teachers’ Association

On Tuesday, the school board said it would not comment further since the matter is before the courts.

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Last month, when the lawsuit was filed, one woman told a news conference that she first met Gregory when she was in Grade 7. Over the next year, she said, he took her under his wing and sexually assaulted her.

Another woman, who was a student of Gregory’s in 1988 and 1989, said he “groomed and manipulated my trust into a very inappropriate sexual relationship.”

Click to play video: 'Former students allege principals were notified of allegations about Calgary teacher charged with sexual assault' Former students allege principals were notified of allegations about Calgary teacher charged with sexual assault
Former students allege principals were notified of allegations about Calgary teacher charged with sexual assault – Feb 22, 2021

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

She said the school’s vice-principal dismissed her accusations.

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