Exclusive: School investigation details Little Chute teacher case
8:30 PM, Jul 19, 2018
8:30 PM, Jul 19, 2018
LITTLE CHUTE, Wis. -
Note: This story contains graphic language.
In 2010, the administrator of the Little Chute Area School District decided there was not enough evidence to suggest that high school teacher Jason LaVigne acted inappropriately toward a student after the (then former) student reported to the school that LaVigne had rubbed himself against her in class, according to a copy of the school’s investigation obtained by NBC 26.
In 2018, the Outagamie County District Attorney’s Office charged LaVigne, 45, with felony repeated sexual assault of a child in the case.
The former student reported the allegations to the school in 2009, and said the incidents occurred in 1999 when she was a freshman in LaVigne’s keyboarding class, according to an email from the alleged victim included in the school’s investigation. Excerpts from the email in this story are published as they were written.
“I was typing on the computer screen like everyone else. When i felt someone rub up against me, i could feel his erect penis on my back. I didn’t turn around but could see in the corner of my eye that it was Mr. Lavigne. Every time he walked by our back row he would rub up against me,” the email stated. “[I] hated him for this… No one deserves these kind of memories from High School.”
The email was dated November 17, 2009. When School Administrator David Botz, who conducted the investigation, asked why she waited to make a report, the former student said she had a sibling at the school in 2009 about whom she was concerned, according to the investigation.
THE SCHOOL’S INVESTIGATION
The alleged victim, according to the investigation, said she brought a male student along when Mr. LaVigne invited her to his room after school, and Mr. LaVigne had a message typed on a computer screen: “I am sorry, it won’t happen again, please don’t tell anyone[.”]
The alleged victim left the room and told the male, who had waited in the hall, about what happened, according to the investigation.
“[W]e contacted the student that was with her during the meeting between her and Mr. LaVigne. He stated he could not remember the incident between the girl and Mr. LaVigne,” the investigation states.
The alleged victim reported during the school’s investigation that she also told a female student about the situation with Mr. LaVigne, according to the investigation.
“When contacted that student also denied remembering anything that happened inappropriately between Mr. LaVigne and the female student making the allegations,” the investigation states.
Botz had a meeting with LaVigne in May of 2009, according to the investigation.
“I explained to Mr. LaVigne the nature of our meeting and then let him read a copy of the email I received from the former student regarding his inappropriate sexual behavior towards her while she was a freshman in his keyboarding class. While reading the email he was visibly shaken. When asked if the email was true, Mr. LaVigne adamantly denied all allegations in the email,” the investigation reads.
In its findings, the investigation lists the former student was “very involved and well respected,” but states,“[T]here is no evidence (except for her word) that would suggest that Mr. LaVigne was involved in this type of misconduct or inappropriate behavior.” The investigation's findings list LaVigne’s “good to outstanding” evaluations at the district, that there was “never” a concern regarding his behavior with female students, and the lack of any rumors regarding LaVigne’s behavior with female students.
“I have come to the conclusion that there is not enough evidence to suggest that Mr. LaVigne acted [inappropriately] towards this former student while she was enrolled in his keyboard class,” the investigation concludes.
FROM 2010 TO 2018
School officials did not report the allegations to police, according to LaVigne’s felony charge paperwork.
State law includes school administrators, teachers, and counselors in the group of so-called “mandated reporters,” who must alert authorities if there is “reasonable cause to suspect that a child seen by the person in the course of professional duties has been abused or neglected,” state law reads.
A Thursday afternoon email to Botz, the school administrator, seeking a phone call was unsuccessful. The school put LaVigne on administrative leave in June of this year.
Authorities were alerted to the classroom allegations made in 2009 while investigating a 2018 Marinette County case in which LaVigne is charged with third degree sexual assault. In the Marinette County case, LaVigne was accused of assaulting a 16-year-old girl on a pontoon boat near Crivitz, according to a previous NBC 26 story.