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(NEW YORK POST) – The husband of a former teacher accused of having sex with a student in Maine testified in her defense Wednesday, acknowledging he was aware of phone calls between his wife and the 17-year-old — but never suspected anything criminal in their relationship.
Steve Lamontagne testified in York County Superior Court, where his wife, former Kennebunk High School teacher Jill Lamontagne, is facing multiple charges, including gross sexual assault, for allegedly having sex with the student several times between February and May 2017, including romps in a classroom, in her car and at her house. She has pleaded not guilty.
Asked Wednesday if he knew his 30-year-old wife had communicated with the boy, Lamontagne confirmed that he was aware of the conversations, saying the former health teacher would often share details of their phone calls, the Bangor Daily News reports.
“Yes, very much so,” Steve Lamontagne testified. “It was a topic of conversation.”
The husband, who works as an electrician, said he would frequently return home during the day to retrieve tools and didn’t tell his wife — who resigned after being placed on administrative leave — about his schedule. He also recalled a time when she suddenly left their home as her parents visited, claiming she had to go help the boy.
“I didn’t think anything of it,” he testified. “I told her, ‘Do what you have to do to help the kid.’”
Lamontagne also knew his wife gave the teen — who is now 19 — a ride in her car that same day, but testified that he didn’t notice any changes in his wife or her routine during the months of the alleged sexual assaults.
During cross-examination by prosecutors, Lamontagne said his wife was “going to help a kid who needed help,” according to the Biddleford Journal Tribune. Lamontagne could not recall exactly when the meeting took place, but testified that was the only weekend he remembered his wife meeting the teen.
Deputy District Attorney Justine McGettigan then asked Lamontagne if he ever went through his wife’s phone to read her text messages.
“No,” he testified. “I trusted my wife.”
A police detective testified earlier Wednesday that nearly 100 text messages and 43 phone calls were exchanged between Lamontagne’s cellphone and the student over a six-month period.
The former teacher, meanwhile, also took the stand Wednesday to defend herself, saying she was merely “concerned” for a troubled boy’s safety when she called him several times on May 31, 2017, the Journal Tribune reports.
Lamontagne said multiple calls were made because the boy’s cellphone was dropping the calls. She also denied kissing the boy and the sexual contact that he said happened at school and her home during testimony on Monday.
“Did you kiss him?” Lamontagne’s attorney, Scott Gardner, asked.
“No,” she replied.
Asked if she took part in the sex acts described by the teen, Lamontagne replied: “No, never.”
Gardner has said previously that Lamontagne categorically denies the charges, saying the allegations stem from teenage fantasies gone awry.
The student, meanwhile, was admitted to Maine Medical Center in Portland last June after ingesting a mix of medicines, including Tylenol, cold medicine and a blood thinner, in an attempt to commit suicide. The teen also told his mother and a nurse at the hospital that he loved Lamontagne, court documents show.
The teacher was expected to take the stand again early Thursday, according to the Journal Tribune.