“Not once did it cross my mind that I would be delivering my son to a predator,” a mother of one of Jaclyn McLaren’s eight young victims revealed to the court Friday.
The mother who cannot be named entered a victim impact statement at the 36-year-old former Tweed Elementary Public School teacher’s sentencing hearing, telling the full gallery how McLaren’s actions against her now 17-year-old son have left her sickened, disgusted and walking on egg shells.
Upon handing down his consecutive two-year term, Judge Stephen Hunter said the impact of McLaren’s crimes are ‘significant and troublesome to a small community.’ McLaren pleaded guilty to seven of the 42 charges against her which Hunter gave the former French teacher credit for by saving the victims having to testify. However, like the author of McLaren’s pre-sentencing report, Hunter admitted he too was concerned that she didn’t comprehend the impact of her involvement with young students.
McLaren wearing a hot pink blouse with a black dress shirt over top and black pants sat staring straight ahead, often sipping from a water bottle. She turned around once to give a questioning smirk and shrug to her family when Assistant Crown Attorney Lynn Ross asked the judge to impose an order restricting her from attending the homes and schools of her victims. After hearing her fate, she took one last sip of her water bottle, emptied the contents of her purse and put on some lip gloss. She and a family member exchanged ‘I love yous.’ She was handcuffed and escorted out of the room by police.
During the mother’s impact statement she admitted she had trouble coming to terms with McLaren only receiving a two-year prison term. She said she felt that it was a double standard and a male teacher would have received a harsher penalty.
“The sentence will never seem to reach what most victims want,” said Judge Hunter during his ruling. “Someone like McLaren in particular, without a criminal record, any amount of time in a federal penitentiary is significant for a first offender.”
Ross also stood by the agreed two-year jail term that she and defence counsel Pieter Kort had presented during closing remarks, stating it was on the high end of the sentencing scale.
Ross echoed it was the pre-sentencing report that proved McLaren has yet to understand the impact of her actions on vulnerable young students.
Court heard how when the mother first learned of what was going on in February 2016 – “the reality hit home hard and fast.”
“It was like a blur,” she said.
She explained how her son no longer had an interest in sports and started racking up suspensions.
Court documents previously entered, detailed how when McLaren was a teacher for Grades 6 to 8 students from 2001 to 2015 she was exchanging sexually explicit images and videos with the boys through social media. She bought two of the youths alcohol before having sexual encounters with them in her car. She also had sexual intercourse with one of the students after he reached the age of 18. She started sending him photos and videos when he was 15. McLaren engaged in sex acts on three different occasions with two of the boys while they were both under the age of 16.
Six of the eight victims were students of hers during that time period. Four were under the age of 18 and four were under the age of 16.
On February 14, 2016, Central Hastings OPP launched an investigation into reports of sexual offences that led to the 42 charges. On March 7, McLaren pleaded guilty to sexual exploitation, possessing child pornography, sexual interference, two counts of child luring and two counts of making explicit material available to a person under 16.
Along with the two year sentence, McLaren was also given two years probation. She is on the sex offender registry for life, cannot attend public places or work where children under 16 frequent. A DNA order was put in place. McLaren is prohibited from using the internet for 10 years and banned from communicating with minors on the internet.