Former N.L. teacher Noel Strapp sentenced to 4 years for sexually exploiting former student

·3 min read
Noel Strapp was sentenced to four years for sexual interference and two years for sexual assault Tuesday. The sentences will be served concurrently. (Ted Dillon/CBC - image credit)
Noel Strapp was sentenced to four years for sexual interference and two years for sexual assault Tuesday. The sentences will be served concurrently. (Ted Dillon/CBC - image credit)

Former teacher Noel Strapp is going to prison for sexually exploiting and sexually assaulting a teenaged student he taught and coached.

Strapp, 39, was convicted in February and sentenced Tuesday in provincial court in St. John's — to four years for sexual exploitation and two years for sexual assault. The sentences will be served concurrently.

The RCMP charged Strapp, a teacher from Harbour Main, after a female former student contacted police in 2019.

Her identity is shielded under a publication ban

Strapp will also be registered as a sex offender for 20 years, will provide a DNA sample to a national database and will be prohibited from owning a firearm for 10 years.

He is also prohibited from contacting the former student.

Lukas Wall/CBC
Lukas Wall/CBC

The Crown called for five years in prison, while the defence had recommended between 22 and 24 months, less a day.

However, the Crown said it was pleased with Judge Phyllis Harris's decision.

Harris told the court that Strapp was in a position of authority and took advantage of that position for his own gain. She said the case rested almost entirely on witness credibility, and that she accepted the complainant's side of the story: that she held Strapp in god-like regard, and would do anything for his attention, approval and flattery.

Following the sentencing, the complainant was emotional, and had a short but strong comment on the decision.

"Karma's a bitch," she said.

Sexual relationship began when complainant was 16

The woman testified during the trial that a sexual relationship between her and Strapp began when she was 16 and while he was her teacher and coach in several sports.

She told the court the two had about 100 sexual interactions. It happened while at school, at Strapp's home, in his children's rooms and in his car, she said.

The woman also told the court that while she was in grades 11 and 12, she and Strapp exchanged sexual pictures and videos using Snapchat, an app that deletes messages once they're read by the person receiving them.

During Strapp's trial, the court heard that he was very involved in the woman's life and that she held him in high regard. She visited his house regularly, had a close relationship with his wife and children, and took part in family events.

Strapp testified that he was very close to the woman, and she was like a little sister to him, but he denied that there was ever a sexual relationship.

Police recovered about 8,000 text messages between the two, eight of which were sexual in nature. Strapp testified that the sexual messages were just banter and he told her to delete them, which she did. The messages were later recovered from the woman's laptop.

She testified that as her coach, Strapp enforced a strict training regimen and nutrition plan that she said was a way to control her and manipulate her for his own sexual gain. He claimed it was just part of the work required to become an elite athlete.

Defence lawyer Ian Patey said during a pre-sentencing hearing in May that Strapp's career as a teacher is over.

The Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers' Association said it will not be commenting on the decision.

In a statement, the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District said it does not comment on court decisions involving current or former employees.

"While we cannot speak to this specific case, typically an individual charged with a serious crime is suspended with pay when we become aware of the allegations; placed on leave without pay once charged, and dismissed as an employee once convicted," read the statement.

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