Former school teacher faces second trial on sexual touching of former student

A second trial involving a former high school band teacher began Friday in Charlottetown provincial court. Roger Jabbour faces two charges of sexual exploitation involving a former student in the 1990s.

Roger Jabbour accused of sexual exploitation of former student in 1990s

Former band teacher Roger Jabbour is on trial in provincial court for sexual exploitation against a student in the 1990s. (John Robertson/CBC)

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  • Roger Jabbour was acquitted on these charges on Nov. 2

Warning: This story contains graphic sexual content

A former high school student testified in court Friday that her band teacher kissed her regularly, and directed her to touch him sexually several times.

Roger Jabbour, 65, is on trial on two charges of sexual exploitation involving his former student that date back to the 1990s when she attended Colonel Gray High School in Charlottetown.

The woman — who is now in her 40s — was the only witness to testify at the trial of Jabbour. Her identity is protected by a court-ordered publication ban.

This is Jabbour's second trial on sex-related charges involving former students.

Last week he was found guilty of three charges related to sexual touching involving three former students from 2012 to 2015. He has not been sentenced on those charges yet.

The former student from the early 1990s testified Friday that Jabbour used to call her into his office at the school several times a week.

At first, she said, he talked about his private life and about other students, and she became his confidante.

However, she told court, this progressed over time, to Jabbour caressing her neck, arms, shoulders and back and kissing her on the head, neck and lips.

I felt very unsafe.- Former student of Roger Jabbour

"I do remember his tongue in my mouth," she testified. She said she met with him about four times a week in his office — with the door locked — mainly after school.

"I felt very unsafe. It was a very awkward situation because at that point there was an inappropriate sexual relationship happening."

Jabbour exposed himself to her, she told court, placed her hand on his penis, and explained how to masturbate. She also testified he masturbated in front of her on at least one occasion.

'I never felt like I was able to reject his advances'

The woman said on at least half a dozen occasions, Jabbour asked her to meet him in the evening and they drove around in his car.

"I never felt like I was able to reject his advances," she testified, as she feared retribution and shaming her family.

She said Jabbour had a temper and was known to demean students who didn't meet his expectations, throwing his baton, or knocking over music stands or chairs during band practice.

"I felt afraid and I felt disappointed in myself because I couldn't carry through. I couldn't confront him and walk away from the situation."

At the end of Grade 12, she said she finally did confront Jabbour, telling him she never wanted to see him again.

"I was able for the first time to say no. I walked out of the band room and out of the door," she testified. "I felt a sense of relief and liberation."

The woman testified she never told anyone the full story of what happened until now.

"I had been living with this for 25 years. I had often, at different times in my life, grappled with how to fully heal from it."

When she heard Jabbour faced a formal police investigation on other charges, she said she decided it was time to come forward.

"I had an incredible sense of relief. I thought I was the only one that had suffered at his hands."

Defence produces 5 letters

On cross-examination, defence lawyer Joel Pink produced five letters the woman had written Jabbour after graduation. She was living out of province but came back to visit family.

In the letters she said she intended to take Jabbour out for a meal, asked about his family, and signed some of the letters with "Keep in touch" and "Hugs and kisses."

The woman told court she didn't remember writing them.

When questioned by Pink, the woman also couldn't say for certain whether she had confronted Jabbour on the day of graduation or on another day around that time.

Pink also asked her if she had given Jabbour two of her grad photos. She told court she couldn't recall.

Before court wrapped up for the day Friday, the Crown submitted the transcripts of the three complainants at the previous trial and the findings of conviction.

Crown attorney Valerie Moore said there are similarities in some of those testimonies to this case.

The judge has not yet decided whether to consider the testimony at the previous trial as evidence in this case.

The trial will continue Monday.

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With files from Brittany Spencer