ALFRED — A former Kennebunk High School teacher took the stand Wednesday to defend herself against charges she sexually assaulted a former student, testifying in York County Superior Court that the 17-year-old boy was troubled and that she “was concerned for his safety.”

Jill Lamontagne said she had been tutoring the student so he could graduate and was worried about him when she called him several times on May 31, 2017.

“I was concerned for his safety,” Lamontagne said in response to questions from her attorney, Scott Gardner, on the third day of her trial.

Lamontagne, 30, is being tried on 14 counts: six Class C felony charges of gross sexual assault involving an individual over whom she had instructional, supervisory or disciplinary authority; two Class D misdemeanor charges of unlawful sexual contact; and six Class D misdemeanor charges of sexual abuse of a minor. She says she has been falsely accused.

In testimony Monday, the teen, now 19, said he and Lamontagne had sexual contact multiple times at school and at her home in 2017. The Press Herald does not identify victims of alleged sex crimes without their consent.

Lamontagne resigned in September 2017 after teaching health at Kennebunk High School for about five years. The 2006 Kennebunk High graduate was offered a job teaching health at the school in 2012 after first working a year as an education technician. She earned a masters degree in education in 2013.


On Monday, the teen had testified that he and Lamontagne had oral sex in a closet in her portable classroom and at her home in West Kennebunk. He said that he believed he and Lamontagne were in love, but their relationship began to change as the end of the school year approached in 2017, and that he had tried to take his life on June 9, the day he was supposed to be at school for an assembly for graduating seniors.

On Wednesday, Lamontagne was composed as she answered questions posed by Gardner after taking the stand in the afternoon. She said she became aware that the teen was having difficulties in school when she learned he had accidentally skipped a exam in a class taught by her father, a math teacher at Kennebunk High.

“It became more evident that math was not the only thing he was struggling with,” Lamontagne said.

She said she told him if he needed help with his work to let her know. She testified that she spoke with the teen’s guidance counselor and the two worked out how to adjust his schedule so she could help him with his classes. She said he was having difficulty in English and history, and had not accumulated the community service hours required to graduate.

She said the bus that took students to morning vocational classes would pick up students outside her portable classroom, and that he and other students heading to the Biddeford Center of Technology would sometimes stop by her classroom first.

“Did you kiss him?” Gardner asked.


“No,” Lamontagne said.

Gardner asked more detailed questions about the physical allegations of sexual contact that the boy had described in his testimony Monday.

“No, never,” Lamontagne replied.

Her testimony came after the defense presented witnesses who cast doubt on the teen’s allegations, with some testifying that Lamontagne had been with them at times when she is alleged to have been having sex with the former student.

Lamontagne’s husband testified in her defense Wednesday, saying it wasn’t unusual for his wife to come to the aid of students when they needed help.

Under cross-examination by Deputy District Attorney Justine McGettigan, Steve Lamontagne said his wife had left a family gathering on a Sunday to meet the boy because he needed help. He said he wasn’t sure what month that had taken place, but that it was the only weekend day she had gone to meet with the teen.


“He needed help,” Steve Lamontagne said. “She was going to help a kid who needed help.”

The prosecutor asked Steve Lamontagne if he ever checked his wife’s phone for messages.

No,” he responded. “I trusted my wife.”

A former colleague of Jill Lamontagne’s testified that the two were enjoying strawberry rhubarb crisp and wine at her Kennebunkport home on May 10, 2017, which is the same afternoon that the alleged victim told the court that he and Lamontagne met at Lamontagne’s West Kennebunk home.

Sara Young, who retired from teaching at Kennebunk High, said that day was the first time the former colleagues had a chance to get together. Young said Lamontagne had arrived at her home around 2:45 p.m., and departed around 4:30 p.m.

In addition, the Lamontagnes’ daycare provider, Amanda Stevens, testified that on May 23, 2017, Steve Lamontagne dropped off the couple’s two children as usual that morning and asked that Stevens have them do something special for their mother because it was her birthday.


Stevens testified that the children had made a crown and presented it to his wife when she arrived in the afternoon to pick up them up. She said Jill Lamontagne arrived sometime around 2:35 p.m. after a school bus dropped off another child at the daycare and that she believed she had departed by 3 p.m.

The dates coincide with the two afternoons that the victim had earlier testified that he and Lamontagne had sexual relations at her West Kennebunk home.

Other testimony on Wednesday revealed an error in the calculation of the number of phone calls exchanged between the alleged victim and Jill Lamontagne. There were 43 calls during a six-month period in 2017, not 86 as stated in testimony Tuesday.

Cyber expert Fred Williams, under questioning by prosecutor Nicholas Heimbach, said that a calculation cited in previous testimony had duplicated the number of telephone calls. He also testified that the time that calls were made was in error as well because daylight saving time had not been taken into account.

The number of calls the two had exchanged had been raised by the prosecution during Williams’ testimony on Tuesday, and Lamontagne testified Wednesday that there were multiple calls on May 31, 2017, because the teen was in a location where his cellphone kept dropping calls.

Williams also testified Tuesday that Lamontagne and the student exchanged 94 text messages between May 28 and June 9 in 2017.


Under questioning by Heimbach, the prosecutor, Williams said the texts sent from Lamontagne’s phone to the teen’s included messages such as “can’t stop thinking about you” and “my heart is racing.”

On Wednesday, Gardner asked Lamontagne if she had given the teen her cellphone number. She said she had not, but said her number would be easy to acquire as she coached two sports and helped students find ways to fulfill community service requirements.

She testified she did not give him her Snapchat app name, but pointed out that Snapchat allows contact with the use of cellphone numbers.

She said the teen had talked to her about his life and that she had concerns about his emotional state.

Gardner asked Lamontagne if she had sent the teen a recording of a song.

She said she had.


“The song had lyrics about people’s ability to change,” she said.

“Was it (sent) to profess your undying love for him?” Gardner asked.

“Absolutely not,” she replied.

The prosecution is expected to begin their cross-examination of Lamontagne on Thursday morning.

Former Kennebunk High School teacher Jill Lamontagne answers questions from her attorney Scott Gardner while on the witness stand during her trial at York County Superior Court on Wednesday, July 25, 2018. (Gregory Rec/Portland Press Herald)

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