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Teacher Cleared Of Student Sex Charges Hopes To Write A Book About Her Story

“I did what I thought was right for a kid in a rough spot,” Jill Lamontagne said, months after being being acquitted. 

By Sharon Lynn Pruitt

Months after being acquitted on sexual assault charges, former teacher Jill Lamontagne has revealed her hopes to write a book about everything she went through.

Lamontagne, a former health teacher at Kennebunk High School in Maine, was first accused last year of having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old male student after the student told family members that he and Lamontagne, who was 29 years old at the time, had sex “numerous times.”

Lamontagne, a married mother of two, was indicted on six counts of gross sexual assault, two counts of unlawful sexual contact, and six counts of abuse of a minor in October. During the trial, Lamontagne defended her communication with the boy, claiming that she was “concerned for his safety,” according to the Biddeford Journal Tribune.

She was acquitted on all charges in June of this year, but her life will never be the same, she explained in an interview with the Portland Press Herald this week.

“I don’t get my job back, [attorney] fees back, the old version of me back. I don’t get rid of the trauma,” she said. “I’m innocent, that’s it.”

Lamontagne resigned shortly after being placed on administrative leave following the accusations and is now working at a diner, according to the Portland Press Herald. She also still sees a trauma counselor, after initially seeking out professional help when she first began dealing with the accusations against her. Those unfamiliar with Lamontagne’s ordeal may one day be able to read about her story in a book; the former teacher told the Press Herald that she plans to share her story in her own words one day.

“I’ve filled multiple notebooks over the past year,” she explained. “A book is a goal.”

Accusations surrounding Lamontagne first arose after the boy was hospitalized for a suicide attempt. He allegedly later told family that he “loved” Lamontagne and claimed that they had been together “numerous times” “in the classroom, at her house, in her car,” the Portland Press Herald previously reported. Lamontagne testified that she often helped the teen with his classes, according to the Journal Tribune, but denied allegations of a romantic relationship.

The ordeal set Lamontagne and her former school district at odds, with Lamontagne describing the “administration and superintendent” of her old district as “the weak part of the puzzle.” She accused both the superintendent and the principal of helping authorities “build a case” against her.

Superintendent Kathryn Hawes challenged that assertion in a statement to the Press Herald.

“Although the district always assists law enforcement personnel when requested, it is not our role to ‘build a case’ against anyone. We did not do that in this case, nor would we ever do it,” Hawes said.

The school district later instituted a policy forbidding teachers from communicating with students via text messages, according to the Press Herald, but Lamontagne told the outlet that such a policy was never in place during her tenure at the school, and was only a suggestion offered by the superintendent. Hawes contested that as well, telling the Press Herald that all staff had received a letter outlining communication guidelines.

Lamontagne still stands by her actions, explaining to the Portland Press Herald, “I gave 110 percent. I did what I thought was right for a kid in a rough spot. I couldn’t have done more, but I couldn’t have done less and been OK with it.”

[Photo: York County Sheriff]

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