A Quebec high school gym teacher has been charged with having sexual relations with a student over a three-year period.

Tania Pontbriand, 38, faces two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and one count of sexual assault.

She was formally charged Monday in St-Jérome, Que., but was not in court.

Her lawyer entered a plea of not guilty on her behalf.

The charges stem from an alleged sexual relationship involving a male student at Rosemère High School between 2002 and 2004.

The former student went to police last year to complain and only recently pressed charges, said Crown Prosecutor Claudia Carbonneau.

"A charge of having sexual contact with a teenager while in a position authority is just as serious as sexual assault," Carbonneau said after the Monday hearing.

The Sir Wilfred School Board said Pontbriand was suspended after local authorities informed them of the case in April 2007.

"Until judgment is rendered, the suspension remains in effect, after which, the school board will take whatever measures necessary," said Maxeen Jolin, communications co-ordinator at the school board, in a statement issued Monday.

The incident is an "isolated case," she said.

Pontbriand returns to court Nov. 17.

Rosemère High School is on Montreal's North Shore.

With files from the Canadian Press