Former teacher Amy Hood sentenced to house arrest for sex crimes against teens

A former Nova Scotia elementary school teacher was sentenced today to 15 months house arrest for sex crimes against two boys she used to teach.

Offences involved 2 former students and occurred in 2013 when Hood was a Grade 6 teacher

Amy Hood was sentenced to house arrest for sex crimes against two boys. (CBC)

A former Nova Scotia elementary school teacher will serve 15 months house arrest for sex crimes against two boys she used to teach, after a judge refused to sentence her to the mandatory minimum of one year in jail.

Judge Del Atwood handed down the sentence to Amy Hood, 40, Wednesday morning in Pictou provincial court, and called the one-year mandatory minimum grossly disproportionate in this case. Hood's offences were "more crimes of spontaneous opportunity rather than calculation," he said.

Hood was found guilty in April of sexual assault, sexual interference and luring involving two of her former students.

While Atwood noted Hood is highly unlikely to reoffend in a sexual manner, he was somewhat concerned by her trying to apportion some blame to her victims. He accepted evidence that Hood's bipolar disorder affected her behaviour.

Mandatory minimum sentences were brought in by the previous federal Conservative government for certain sex crimes and drug offences. This spring, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the law for drug offences.

Crown wanted 4 years

Hood committed her offences in the summer of 2013 and at the time was a Grade 6 teacher at Thorburn Consolidated School in Pictou, N.S.

During sentencing submissions in October, Crown prosecutor Bill Gorman argued Hood should be sentenced to four years in prison. The defence urged the judge to hand Hood a conditional sentence — or six months in jail, at most — and argued she has suffered enough given the public attention, the loss of her job and the disintegration of her marriage.

Hood will be subject to electronic supervision during house arrest. Two years of probation will follow.

As part of her sentence, Hood must give a DNA sample and go on the sex offender registry for life. She must stay off the internet, except for work, and even then must be supervised.

She must stay at least two kilometres away from her victims and can't work with children, except her own. She also has to avoid places frequented by children unless accompanied by an adult for 10 years.

The CBC's Blair Rhodes is live blogged from court.