PEI

Roger Jabbour paroled after serving six months in jail for sexually touching students

Former music teacher Roger Jabbour has been granted full parole after serving jail time for sexual offences against students at Colonel Gray High School in Charlottetown.

Former music teacher ordered to undergo assessment, stay away from victims

Roger Jabbour was sentenced in January 2019 for sexual exploitation and sexual interference. (John Robertson/CBC)

Former music teacher Roger Jabbour has been granted full parole after serving jail time for sexual offences against students at Colonel Gray High School in Charlottetown.

Jabbour was sentenced in January 2019 for sexual exploitation and sexual interference. His victims were three females, ages 14 and 15 at the time, who were his students between 2012 and 2015. Their identities are protected by a court-ordered publication ban.

Jabbour's sentence was 15 months, however, the Parole Board of Canada can grant an application for earlier release if an offender is not considered an undue risk to the community. Release for Jabbour was granted in August.

The Parole Board of Canada granted full parole after reviewing Jabbour's file.

The decision refers to his behaviour — developing close relationships with three underage students — spanning two-and-a-half years.

"Teaching and mentorship progressed to close personal relationships to include manipulation, coercion, unwanted touching, and more aggressive fondling. In some instances the coercion was highly controlling and intimidating," the decision said.

The board couldn't find anything in Jabbour's court record to explain his actions, and said his explanations "lean towards rationalization and minimization." He has acknowledged some "misconstrued hugs" to the board and denied any sexual attraction.

'Opportunistic versus predatory'

In its decision, the board describes Jabbour's relationships with his students as "opportunistic versus predatory," and questions whether he takes responsibility for his actions. It also notes that information from police on his behaviours that led to the charges, "certainly beg the need for further exploration by professionals and deep introspection."

In granting parole, the board noted it found it "perplexing" that Jabbour did not submit to an assessment while in jail to explore any issues linked to his behaviour. As a condition of parole, Jabbour is ordered to undergo professional assessment "so that you and your illegal behaviours are properly understood," and follow a treatment plan, if it's deemed appropriate.

"Failure to participate would signal an increase in risk," said the decision.

In addition, Jabbour is not allowed to hold any position of trust or authority over females under 16, and he's not allowed to contact any of the victims or their families, who "have been traumatized by your prolonged behaviours. They deserve privacy and space to heal." Jabbour retired from teaching before his trial.

Support at home, in community

While in jail, the decision noted, Jabbour worked in the kitchen and tutored other offenders and was considered motivated to be released. The board also wrote this was the first criminal conviction for Jabbour, 67, and that after being charged and prior to being sentenced, he was in the community without incident.

The board decided overall, Jabbour was not an undue risk to the community and that he has good support at home and in the community. The board decided serving the rest of his sentence outside of jail would help Jabbour reintegrate into society. He will be supervised in the community for the rest of his sentence.

The Parole Board of Canada is responsible for parole decisions for federal inmates. It also decides parole for provincial inmates with sentences between six months and two years less a day, except in Ontario and Quebec which have their own provincial parole boards.

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