Saturday, February 20, 2016


BELLEVILLE  - A woman accused of 36 sex crimes involving minors is an Eastern Ontario teacher, police have revealed.

Jaclyn Lindsay McLaren, also known as Jaclyn (Jackie) Jones, 36, of Stirling, Ont., is free on a $100,000 bond and strict conditions after a bail hearing Friday in Belleville court.

Ontario Provincial Police then announced she was facing several more charges - and employed as a teacher with the Belleville-based Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board.

Sgt. Peter Leon said the charges now involve four young people ages 12 to 15 and date from 2013 to 2016. Investigators say the incidents occurred in Tweed, a small community 40 kilometres north of Belleville and 190 kilometres southwest of Ottawa.

McLaren is now charged with three counts of making child pornography and one count of making sexually explicit material available to children.

She's also charged with four counts each of sexual assault on a person younger than 16, sexual interference with a person younger than 16 and making an invitation to sexual touching involving a person younger than 16.

McLaren is charged further with eight counts of sexual exploitation, six counts of luring a person younger than 16 and six counts of making sexually explicit material available to a person under 16.

Leon said the exploitation charge relates to crimes committed by someone in position of trust, while the luring charge relates to "making an offer to meet, to carry out something."

Police said they launched their investigation Feb. 14. The next day, they charged the teacher, holding her in custody through the week for a bail hearing that spanned three appearances at Belleville's Quinte courthouse.

Board education director Mandy Savery-Whiteway said McLaren is not at work.

"Child and youth counsellors are at schools to support students, as needed," she wrote in an email.

"We are co-operating with police and will also be undertaking our own investigation," she wrote.

"Student safety and well-being are always our first priorities at all times."

She said the board would offer no further comment.

The Ontario College of Teachers directory lists McLaren as a specialist in teaching French as a second language. She's listed as a member since 2008 and in good standing. "Good standing" means only that a person is a paid, registered member certified to teach in a given year, the website reads.

In an interview, McLaren's Belleville lawyer, Pieter Kort, cautioned against rushing to judgment.

"One of the unfortunate realities is that many members of the public operate under the presumption of guilt," he said.

"The assumption is if someone's charged by the police they must be guilty," said Kort.

"Recent developments in the administration of justice reflect the reality that oftentimes people that are charged with serious offences are not actually guilty of any crime," he said, "and a Crown case that seems like a slam-dunk falls apart during the course of a public hearing where the evidence is heard and tested."

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