$40M lawsuit claims Calgary school board breached 'duty of care' of students of former teacher
A class-action lawsuit has been filed against the Calgary Board of Education (CBE) in connection with the alleged sexual misconduct of a teacher who died this past February.
According to the court document, Michael Gregory was a teacher at John Ware Junior High School in southwest Calgary who taught there between 1986 and 2006.
He was charged after a number of victims – former students – came forward to police, accusing him of sexual assault and exploitation.
Gregory took his own life after charges were laid, but the victims now want the CBE to take responsibility for the wrongdoing.
The lawsuit, obtained by CTV News and written by lawyer Jonathan Denis, named three plaintiffs who were all students of Gregory's. They all alleged he sexually assaulted them on multiple occasions.
The incidents occurred both inside the school and while on school trips, the document says.
The lawsuit also claims that Gregory "became adept" at grooming the students, including giving them concert tickets, drugs, alcohol and money.
It alleges the CBE knew about Gregory's actions and administrators and staff members did nothing.
"During the course of the Defendant, Gregory's multi-decade career, other teachers and administrators at inter alia John Ware Junior High School, saw behaviours that did, or ought to have given them cause for concern, and received reports from students, teachers and parents of conduct that warranted further investigation and action," the statement of claim reads.
When some parents became concerned about the situation, the statement of claim alleges the assistant principal of the school, Mr. Adams, "discounted their concerns" and ridiculed them for bringing attention to them.
"It is no small coincidence that Adams and the Defendant Gregory were friends," the document said.
Following an investigation by the Alberta Teachers' Association into the sexual misconduct allegations, Gregory's teaching licence was suspended and he left the profession in 2006.
Seventeen charges for sexual assault and sexual exploitation were filed against him in 2021 but, in February, he died by suicide.
The class action seeks a declaration that the CBE breached its duty of care to the plaintiffs and class members, a caveat on Gregory's estate to enjoin the trustee from distributing it until the matter is resolved and damages in the amount of $40 million as well as costs of the legal action.
When reached out to for comment, the CBE said it had not received the statement of claim.
"As this is a legal matter, we cannot provide additional information at this time," said Bryan Weismiller, CBE spokesperson.