'You took my childhood,' sex-abuse survivor tells Brett Mittelsteadt in court
Brett Mittelsteadt was a teacher, basketball coach and an active member of the Catholic church
Brett Mittelsteadt was a family man, trusted teacher, coach and active member of the Catholic church when he started sending sexual text messages to a girl less than half his age — who was also one of his students.
The details are outlined in the agreed statement of facts, a list of details agreed on by the court when Mittelsteadt pleaded guilty on Monday morning to luring and touching a minor for a sexual purpose.
The girl, who cannot be named because of a court order that protects her identity, was 14 years old when her teacher at Holy Spirit Catholic School in Sherwood Park started grooming her for a sexual relationship. He was already a close friend of the family. And at that time, in March 2013, the child's parents say she was a "hard-working, bright-spirited girl," whose spirit and flame were extinguished by the dark "narcissistic" decisions Mittelsteadt made in secret.
You took my childhood.- Survivor who cannot be named under court order
Seemingly sweet texts like "I love you," and "You are beautiful" were mixed in with increasingly explicit language and photos over several weeks.
Mittelsteadt sent the girl photos of himself naked, in his underwear or shirtless, asking her "Where's mine?" He initiated late night phone calls and Facetime chats, where he would strip and encourage her to take off her clothes while he masturbated. He would drive her home and initiate making out and sexual touching. He pulled her from other teachers' classes, saying he needed help, so he could kiss her in unoccupied rooms at school.
ALBERTA TEACHERS' ASSOCIATION RESPONSE
The ATA cannot comment on individual cases. But spokesperson Brian Andrais said a teacher is automatically deemed guilty of professional misconduct when they are convicted of an indictable offence. "The likelihood of the individual teaching again is very remote [in cases like this]," he said. He expects there will be a hearing within a month on whether he should lose his teaching licence.
The teacher, who is married and has two children, took the girl to other homes to engage in sexual activity. In one case, he bought her alcohol and drove her to his parents' house. They drank and he led her to a bed, stripped, and kissed and fondled her.
"I will never remember what it's like to be innocent," the girl said through tears on Monday as she read her victim impact statement aloud to the courtroom. Her back straight, her abuser just a few feet away, she spoke without stumbling — but with many tears.
She described how the last few years have been a struggle. The girl suffers from depression and anxiety and has a difficult time at school. She said she feels angry and used, and has a hard time feeling safe.
"I don't know if I'll be able to trust anyone," she said.
"You took my childhood."
Mittelsteadt cried and apologized to the family in court in a short statement.
The girl's parents made it clear they would not accept his words.
"This was not her path, but you forced her on it," her father said. "For this, you will not find forgiveness."
He described the heartache of watching his daughter waver under the weight of suicidal thoughts and fears that keep her from simple milestones like being able to hold a part-time job and dating boys her own age.
"We have failed as parents. But we will fail no more."
The family left the courtroom together, arms around each other.
Mittelsteadt left with a security guard.
He has resigned from his teaching post and will spend the next two years less a day in a provincial jail.