Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Carolyn Amy Hood, former Canadian teacher, on trial for sexual assault

Former Grade 6 teacher faces six sex-related charges involving children

Carolyn Amy Hood, 39, of Stellarton was charged in January 2014 with six offences following an 11-week investigation by the RCMP.

Hood was charged with one count of sexual assault, one count of sexual interference, two counts of luring minors over the internet for a sexual purpose and two counts of sexual exploitation of a young person.

Hood's lawyer, Joel Pink, told the court there is evidence in four of those counts they admit to—those charges are the two involving luring, one of sexual exploitation and one of sexual interference.

Hood's legal team also argued she is not criminally responsible for her actions because her condition, bipolar disorder type 1, made her out of control of her actions.

Pink called on Theresa Vienneau, Hood's psychiatrist, on the first day of the trail. Vienneau met Hood on November 7, 2013 through a referral from her family doctor.

Vienneau told the court she diagnosed Hood with a severe form of bipolar disorder, and it appeared that Hood was recovering from a manic episode that began in early 2013 and lasted into the summer.

Vienneau said based on her interviews with Hood and on speaking with her family, she felt Hood's judgement was compromised. The psychiatrist said Hood did not seem to understand consequences and Vienneau believed it was "incredibly important" to stabilize Hood the same day they met.

Vienneau placed Hood on lithium and recommended hospitalization. Hood did not immediately go into hospital, but was later admitted to the Aberdeen hospital where the psychiatrist worked in December 2013.

In an assessment report that Vienneau read in court, she wrote Hood said she'd let "some young man" control her. Hood called that incident "nonsense" and "wrong," and told her doctor she was resigned to never teaching again.

Hood was working at the Thornburn Consolidated School teaching grade 6 during the June-September time period, when it is alleged the incidents occurred. She was also living with her husband and caring for her three children. By the time Vienneau met Hood in November, she was no longer working at the school.

Under cross-examination by the crown, Vienneau said Hood told her she'd begun to text with former students, who were then in grade 10 or 11. Hood told Vienneau the texts with one boy turned inappropriate over the course of several months. She said sexual pictures were exchanged, with both Hood and the boy giving and receiving sexual pictures.


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