Edmonton

Teacher initiated sexual relationship, former Edmonton junior high student tells court

An Edmonton junior high school music teacher accused of having sex with a 15-year-old student has pleaded not guilty to sexual assault and unlawful touching.

'She wanted to have a relationship. I was very confused'

Alyssa Tungul pictured here on the date of her arrest by Edmonton police in May 2019. (Court exhibit/Edmonton Police Service)

An Edmonton junior high school music teacher accused of having sex with a 15-year-old student has pleaded not guilty to sexual assault and unlawful touching.

Alyssa Tungul, 30, is charged for incidents allegedly occurring between June 1 and Nov. 30, 2016. 

The student, now 20, testified in Edmonton Court of Queen's Bench on Monday and Tuesday behind a screen with a child protection worker present and a support dog by his side. 

As the student's identity is protected by a court-ordered publication ban, CBC is referring to him as David.

In the summer after David finished Grade 9, the two texted each other frequently, with Tungul confiding in him about her personal life, including her relationship with her fiance, David said. 

Tungul picked him up from a mall in the summer of 2016 and drove to a quiet location along some fences, he testified. 

"Basically she stopped the car and proceeded to climb over," David said. "We started cuddling." 

David testified that Tungul gave him oral sex "for a couple of minutes" before getting nervous they would be seen and climbing back into the driver's seat. 

They discussed their 11-year age difference, he said.

"She wanted to have a relationship," David said. "I was very confused." 

David testified he lost his virginity to Tungul in August 2016 at her cousin's house.  

"We had sex," he said. "She told me that she loved me." 

They had intercourse twice after that, once in her car outside the city and another time in the basement band room of the school.

Not long after, David decided to stop seeing Tungul. 

"I ended it because she said she loved me and I felt like it was wrong," David testified. "I was a 15-year-old insecure kid.

"She put me in a position where I didn't want to be." 

He said Tungul told him repeatedly that he could never tell anyone about what had happened. 

'It wasn't his fault' 

For two years, David stayed quiet. At age 17, he told three cousins and a school friend about the relationship but they didn't take it seriously and "basically brushed it off," he said. 

In the spring of 2018, during an argument with his mother, he told her he'd been sexually abused by a former teacher.

His mother testified she encouraged her son to seek counselling. 

"I related to [him] he was not of an age to consent and therefore it wasn't his fault," she said. "I didn't hold him responsible." 

In November 2018, with the permission of her son, David's mother called Edmonton police.

In a taped interview with a sex crimes detective, David said he didn't want to see Tungul get arrested, go to jail or lose her job.

"I don't want anything," David said. "I just want to do the right thing."

Two months later, David was interviewed again by the same officer. He had made a decision.

"I want her to at least admit what she's done," David testified.

Tungul was charged in May 2019.

When Edmonton Catholic Schools was told about the police investigation in December 2018, Tungul was suspended with pay. 

A board spokesperson said Tuesday Tungul remains on paid "unassigned duties."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Janice Johnston is an award-winning journalist in Edmonton who has covered the courts and crime for more than two decades. You can reach her at janice.johnston@cbc.ca or on Twitter at @cbcjanjohnston

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