ALFRED (NEWS CENTER Maine) -- The trial of a former Kennebunk High School health teacher accused of having sexual relations with an underage student at the school began Monday morning in a York County Superior Courtroom.
Jill Lamontagne faces 14 counts of charges involving sexual assault, abuse of a minor, and misconduct, but she maintains her innocence.
Lamontagne faced a jury when her trial began on Monday. During opening statements, the prosecution said then 29-year-old Lamontagne and the underage student became close and began communicating through the app Snapchat. The relationship allegedly became sexual and physical interactions were said to have happened several times on and off school property between February and May of 2017.
The allegations came to light in June of last year when the boy was hospitalized for ingesting multiple medications. He reportedly told a nurse he tried to kill himself. Lamontagne turned herself in to police in October and pleaded not guilty to all charges in December.
Lamontagne’s attorney says the allegations are based on nothing more than a high school rumor. Supporters of the former teacher gathered outside of the courthouse ahead of the trial, holding signs proclaiming Lamontagne’s innocence. They too say she didn’t do what she’s accused of.
“Our job isn’t about delivering curriculum, it’s about building trusting relationships with students,” said Melissa Luetje, a science teacher at Kennebunk High School who worked with Lamontagne. “She was tasked with getting this troubled teen to the finish line of graduating, and that’s exactly what she did. He, you know, fantasized about a beautiful, young, smart woman and told lies that he didn’t back down from.”
The maximum sentences of the multiple charges against Lamontagne do carry jail time.