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Stevens Fires Accused Teacher

  • Christopher LeBlanc, a Stevens High School math teacher, is arraigned in Claremont District Court by video from the Sullivan County House of Corrections Monday, March 24, 2014, for allegedly sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl. LeBlanc, represented by Anthony DiPadova, foreground right, entered no plea during the appearance. <br/>(Valley News - James M. Patterson)

    Christopher LeBlanc, a Stevens High School math teacher, is arraigned in Claremont District Court by video from the Sullivan County House of Corrections Monday, March 24, 2014, for allegedly sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl. LeBlanc, represented by Anthony DiPadova, foreground right, entered no plea during the appearance.
    (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Middleton McGoodwin, superintendent of SAU 6, attended the arraignment in Claremont District Court of Christopher LeBlanc, a Stevens High School math teacher who is currently on paid leave after it was alleged that he sexually assaulted a 14-year-old student, Monday, March 24, 2014.  <br/>(Valley News - James M. Patterson)

    Middleton McGoodwin, superintendent of SAU 6, attended the arraignment in Claremont District Court of Christopher LeBlanc, a Stevens High School math teacher who is currently on paid leave after it was alleged that he sexually assaulted a 14-year-old student, Monday, March 24, 2014.
    (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Christopher LeBlanc, a Stevens High School math teacher, is arraigned in Claremont District Court by video from the Sullivan County House of Corrections Monday, March 24, 2014, for allegedly sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl. LeBlanc, represented by Anthony DiPadova, foreground right, entered no plea during the appearance. <br/>(Valley News - James M. Patterson)
  • Middleton McGoodwin, superintendent of SAU 6, attended the arraignment in Claremont District Court of Christopher LeBlanc, a Stevens High School math teacher who is currently on paid leave after it was alleged that he sexually assaulted a 14-year-old student, Monday, March 24, 2014.  <br/>(Valley News - James M. Patterson)

Claremont — A Stevens High School algebra teacher was fired Monday after being arraigned earlier in the day on four counts of felonious sexual assault against a 14-year-old student, including at least one instance alleged to have occurred in a classroom at the school.

Christopher LeBlanc, 29, of Claremont, appeared at the courthouse in Claremont via video conference from the Sullivan County House of Correction in Unity, where he remains held on $250,000 cash bail. LeBlanc did not speak in court Monday, other than to acknowledge that he understood the charges against him.

LeBlanc, who is married, was arrested Friday, a day after police were contacted by Stevens Assistant Principal Chris Beeso, according to an affidavit by Sgt. Emily Cobb of the Claremont Police Department.

Beeso spoke with School Resource Officer Crystal Simonds last Thursday about an internal investigation of a potentially inappropriate relationship between LeBlanc and a student. Another staff member had brought concerns to Beeso.

The student and her parents were interviewed by police Friday morning.

The mother said she had been concerned about the girl’s relationship with LeBlanc since earlier in the school year, when the teacher had started to ask the girl to babysit for him and began sharing details of his personal life with her.

“The mother of the 14-year-old female stated she and her husband had been able to look back on cell phone records and found thousands of text and picture messages in approximately the last month and a half,” the affidavit states.

According to the affidavit, when school administrators and Simonds questioned LeBlanc, he initially said he had not exchanged texts with the girl recently, but when LeBlanc was told her parents had reviewed cell phone records, he acknowledged “he had been texting her a lot.”

According to the affidavit, messages sent by LeBlanc to the student the day he was arrested included:

“I was worried we got caught.”

“Dad’s truck parked in front of town hall. Praying he isn’t going to the cops.”

“Just say we talked a lot but just as friends.”

“I love you. You just made me smile so much.”

“Don’t mention the sexual stuff.”

“I am getting a lawyer. We shouldn’t message any more if they have our texts.”

In an interview, the girl told police she began a “friendship” with LeBlanc last fall.

“Their friendship blossomed into a relationship, as described by the 14-year-old female being similar to a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship,” the affidavit states.

According to the affidavit, LeBlanc, who told the girl he is going through a divorce, was observed rubbing her shoulders in the presence of other students.

It was that alleged behavior that the other staff member reported to school administrators.

The girl told police of multiple sexual encounters with LeBlanc at different locations, including once at an apartment on Block Avenue.

LeBlanc also is alleged to have sent naked images of himself to the girl.

When he was arrested at his Claremont home on Friday around 5:30, LeBlanc declined to answer questions, police said.

A probable cause hearing on the four felonious sexual assault charges is scheduled for April 1 in Newport District Court.

Outside the courtroom Monday, Sullivan County Attorney Marc Hathaway said the charges against LeBlanc involve one victim but police are continuing to investigate whether there could be others.

According to SAU 6 Superintendent Middleton McGoodwin, LeBlanc previously taught in Windsor and Lebanon high schools before being hired in Claremont in September. Calls to Windsor and Lebanon school officials concerning LeBlanc’s employment in those districts were not immediately returned Monday.

McGoodwin sent an email message to Claremont and Unity parents Sunday.

“I want to express my surprise and great disappointment following the arrest of a Stevens High School teacher late Friday afternoon. And though this event was very unsettling, I am confident we will continue to keep our schools safe by being observant, and maintaining open communication between school and home,” McGoodwin said.

Patrick O’Grady can be reached at pogclmt@gmail.com.