Judge hears closing arguments in case of Edmonton school teacher accused of sexually abusing student


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Warning: this story contains details some readers may find disturbing. 

In one version of the story, the teacher is a sexual abuser who took advantage of a young student.

In another, she herself is the victim, assaulted and blackmailed by her accuser.

Alyssa Tungul’s trial on charges of sexual assault, sexual interference and invitation to sexual touching began in April.

A former junior high teacher with Edmonton Catholic Schools, she is accused of sexually abusing a former student during a six-month span in 2016.

The alleged victim was 15 at the time. His identity is protected by a publication ban.

Tungul, 30, was a music teacher at an Edmonton junior high school.

She testified she stayed in touch with the student after he finished Grade 9 and she was no longer his teacher. The student reached out to her on Snapchat, and she occasionally shared song lyrics, sheet music and books with him, including a book of poetry.


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They also spoke about his academic struggles and issues in his home life.

The student claims Tungul initiated a sexual relationship. He claims they had intercourse on three occasions — at Tungul’s cousin’s house, in the music room during summer break and on a secluded rural road — in addition to at least 10 instances of kissing and oral sex in Tungul’s car.

Tungul says most of those instances of sexual activity did not take place. One exception is the incident at her cousin’s home, where she claims she took the student to discuss a private issue at his insistence.

The student says Tungul instigated the sexual activity on the basement couch. Tungul, on the other hand, says the student forced himself on her and raped her. Afterward, they travelled to a drug store where she purchased the morning-after pill.

She continued to see the student after the basement incident — despite the fact she feared him — out of concern she would “piss him off” and cause him to go to police. She said she did not think police would believe her story because he was 15 and she was 26, said defence lawyer Brian Vail.

Eventually, she ended contact wth the student. While she still feared him, “it was outweighed by the fact she no longer wanted to have further sexual activity with (the complainant), period,” said Vail.

Two years later, during an argument with his mother, the student revealed the sexual incidents with his former teacher, but said he did not want to get Tungul in trouble. The family eventually went to police.


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Vail argued Tungul was the more credible witness, calling the student’s testimony on a number of key issues “evasive.”

He said Tungul brought the student to her cousin’s home because she lived with her parents and the student wanted to talk about a sensitive issue in private. He noted she called the cousin before to make sure someone else would be around.

Vail said the student tried to get around that fact by making the “outrageous allegation” that Tungul’s cousin and sister were aware of the sexual relationship “and that they were part of a conspiracy with Ms. Tungul to facilitate that.”

He also said the alleged sex acts in the car would be “difficult or impossible,” as the student described them, for anyone who is not a “trained contortionist.”

Tungul may have had boundary issues with her students, he admitted, but added the question of her professionalism is not before the court.

Damon MacLeod, the Crown prosecutor, argued Tungul’s evidence makes little sense.

He noted a “significant power imbalance” between teacher and student. “She was in control,” MacLeod said, calling the complainant “a vulnerable 15-year-old child.”

He also said that while the student was physically larger than Tungul there was no evidence he ever menaced her or was physically violent.

Tungul displayed “extremely poor judgement,” he added, saying that drew “all aspects of her evidence into question.” 

“No teacher acting in their right mind would take a 15-year-old student to the privacy of her cousin’s basement to have a chat,” he said. “To do so would be abhorrently unprofessional and outrageous behaviour.”

He said all her behaviour was “consistent with a teacher who is trying to hide a sexual relationship with a student.”

The case is next in court June 25 to set a date for a Justice Susan Bercov’s decision.




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