WARNING: The details in this story are disturbing. Discretion Advised.
The Calgary Board of Education and a teacher’s estate are being sued in a proposed $ 40 million class action lawsuit for alleged sexual assaults that spanned 17 years.
A claim statement filed by the Guardian Law Group on November 24 alleges that Michael Gregory sexually assaulted and interfered with girls while teaching at John Ware School in Calgary.
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A Guardian Law press release alleges that approximately 200 girls between the ages of 14 and 16 were sexually assaulted between 1989 and 2006.
In February 2021, Gregory, 57, was charged with six counts of sexual assault and 11 counts of sexual exploitation.
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Gregory’s body was found on Vancouver Island on February 22, 2021, in what sources called a “non-criminal and non-accidental” death.
Students describe allegations of grooming, sexual abuse
Three alumni are named as representative plaintiffs in the proposed class action lawsuit.
In the claim statement, two former students say they were groomed and sexually abused, highlighting a litany of incidents with Gregory. The claim alleges that Gregory threw a student in a white shirt into the shower in front of another teacher.
The claim statement also alleges that Gregory asked the girls to remove their shirts and commented on their bodies. When he took the students out to lunch or dinner, the claim alleges that Gregory engaged in “sexual intercourse and other sexual acts with minors who did not have the legal capacity to consent, at all, or with a person in a position of authority.” .
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Former students claim principals were notified of allegations about a teacher accused of sexual assault
According to the complaint statement, a third student says he witnessed inappropriate behavior, but felt ignored and incredulous when he reported it to the guidance counselor; nothing came of that. The student confronted Gregory but was “physically and mentally intimidated,” the claim says.
The lawsuit alleges that Gregory was “adept at grooming his victims, normalizing their predatory behavior, and breaking victims’ defenses to his inappropriate advances,” using strategies such as shock comedy, peer pressure, and gift giving. as well as removing victims from familiar environments and bringing students home.
School board charged with negligence
The claim statement also accuses the Calgary Board of Education of negligence in allowing the alleged abuse to occur, alleging that CBE had “actual or constructive knowledge” of Gregory’s actions and did not act on the complaints.
“CBE did not take any action to prevent or mitigate the harm that they had been told Gregory was capable of, despite the supporting evidence available to them,” the claim reads.
He claims that school staff knew that Gregory “showed a greater degree of interest in the pretty students than in any of his other students,” noting that he would take the students out for lunch, drive them home, and invite them to grow a vegetable garden at home.
“Gregory regularly commented on the bodies and sexuality of female students in front of other staff members,” the statement reads.
“Gregory regularly participated loudly and regularly in tickle fights and fights with female students after school in his classroom, during which he was often sexually aroused. On educational field trips in the open air, and within sight or with the knowledge of other staff members, Gregory spent the night alone in student and alumni tents. “
The claim says Gregory’s teaching license was suspended following an investigation by the Alberta Teachers Association, adding that he stopped teaching in 2006.
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The CBE told Global News by email that it has not received the claim statement and cannot comment on the legal matter.
A press conference with three plaintiffs and their attorney is scheduled for Monday.
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