New Allegations Against Ex-Teacher
Newport — A second person has come forward with allegations against the former Stevens High School teacher who was charged last month with sexually assaulting a 14-year-old student.
At hearing in Newport on Tuesday, Sullivan County Attorney Marc Hathaway said after Christopher LeBlanc was arrested last month, a woman came forward to allege inappropriate conduct by LeBlanc several years ago when she was a 13-year-old student at Canaan’s Indian River School, where LeBlanc was a substitute teacher.
Though there was no physical contact, Hathaway said, the woman claimed that LeBlanc, 29, communicated with her in a “sexual way.”
LeBlanc’s attorney, George Campbell, of Manchester, objected to Hathaway airing “uncharged conduct and unsworn statements” in open court, but Fifth Circuit Court Judge Bruce Cardello allowed Hathaway to continue.
LeBlanc was in court on Tuesday to waive his rights to a probable cause hearing. His only statement was, “yes, your honor,” when asked if he understood that he was waiving the hearing.
The four sexual assault felony charges, including at least one instance alleged to have occurred in a classroom at the school, will be transferred to Sullivan County Superior Court for possible grand jury indictment.
LeBlanc is alleged to have sent thousands of emails and texts to the student over the course of the school year.
“He is obsessed with this behavior and this individual,” Hathaway said.
Cardello ordered LeBlanc remain held on $150,000 cash bail.
LeBlanc was arrested March 21 outside of his home on Block Avenue in Claremont after a two-day investigation by school officials and police.
In arguing for $100,000 cash or surety bail, Campbell said the purpose of bail is to ensure the defendant’s appearance in court and safeguard the community and said $250,000 is an “excessive” amount that cannot be met by a family with modest means.
If released, Campbell said, LeBlanc would live with his parents in New London, where he grew up, and would accept conditions of home confinement with electronic monitoring. He also said LeBlanc’s parents, who were in court but did not speak, would ensure that their son abides by all conditions of his release.
“While the bail is not punitive, $100,000 cash or corporate surety is firm and fair,” Campbell told Cardello.
Hathaway said $250,000 cash bail is appropriate for several reasons, including the allegations by the former student and a prior conviction.
LeBlanc’s prior conviction was a guilty plea in federal court in 2006 for selling stolen night-vision and laser equipment over the Internet. The items were stolen from a Londonderry, N.H., company where he worked as a part-time security guard. He was given a two-year suspended sentence.
Hathaway told the court LeBlanc’s conduct was an “obvious breach of public trust” and a “violation of his responsibility as a teacher.”
When an investigation was begun by the school into LeBlanc’s behavior toward the student, Hathaway said LeBlanc ignored an order from the school to stay away from the alleged victim.
Home confinement would be in a “home he could walk away from” and an electronic monitor can be cut off, Hathaway said in response to Campbell’s suggestion for conditions.
“Given the nature of the offense and given the possibility of serious consequences if convicted, he could possibly flee,” Hathaway said. “High cash bail is appropriate.”
Patrick O’Grady can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.