By Rochelle Baker, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, National Observer
A former Alberta teacher recently charged with 17 sexual offences against students was found dead on Quadra Island in B.C. on Monday.
Michael Andreassen Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005.
Regardless of his death, the investigation involving the former teacher at John Ware Junior High School will continue, the Calgary Police Service (CPS) said in a statement Tuesday.
CPS announced six counts of sexual assault and 11 counts of sexual exploitation against Gregory on Feb. 18.
Quadra Island RCMP responded to a sudden death call at a residence on Monday, said Vancouver Island RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Chris Manseau on Wednesday.
“The death is deemed non-suspicious and we have been in contact with the Calgary Police Service,” Manseau said, adding the deceased is believed to be the owner of the property where he was found.
“I do not believe there have been any reports made to us in connection to the suspect,” Manseau said.
“However, if anybody has been a victim of any sexual assault, please always bring it forward to your local police.”
A first victim contacted police in September reporting her teacher had undressed her and other female students during a canoe trip that wasn’t sanctioned by the school in the summer of 2001, CPS said.
Detectives investigating the allegation identified five other women who reported being sexually involved with the same teacher while they were students.
Investigators believe the accused teacher abused his position of trust to groom female students to get them into situations where a range of sexual activities could occur, with and without the students’ consent, said Staff Sgt. Michelle Doyle of the CPS sex crimes unit at a press conference last week.
“It’s important to note that young people cannot give free, uninformed consent for any sexual activity with a person who is in a position of trust and authority over them, regardless of whether they agree to it or not,” said Doyle.
Gregory taught at John Ware Junior High School from August 1986 until September 2006.
People should contact Calgary police if they have further information, or if they know of any other teaching positions Gregory may have had, said Doyle.
If a suspect dies before an investigation is complete, investigators continue to examine the evidence to learn what occurred and hopefully provide closure and support to victims, CPS said.
Anyone with information on the case can contact CPS at 403-266-1234 or by emailing pol3522↕calgarypolice.ca, or they can report anonymously with Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or calgarycrimestoppers.org.