MONTREAL — A Montreal-area woman who carried on an intense, inappropriate relationship with a young girl despite numerous efforts to get her to stop will avoid further jail time.
Virginia Genevrier, 40, was sentenced Thursday after previously pleading guilty to one count of transmitting sexually explicit material to a minor and two counts of breaching a peace bond.
“How could a woman of this age, married and a mother, develop over time a special relationship to that point with an adolescent who was 12 years old at the time?” Quebec court Judge Helene Morin asked as she handed down a sentence in a case she described as “unique.”
The judge noted that efforts by the girl’s school, her family, the police and the judiciary all failed to stop Genevrier’s behaviour. “The accused interfered in a totally inappropriate way in the life of this girl, and this is what must be denounced,” she said.
Genevrier was found to have had a relationship with a girl, now 16, whom she met while working as a lunch monitor at her daughter’s Montreal-area elementary school. Over time, the relationship intensified to the point where the girl had developed romantic feelings for Genevrier, whose daughter was a classmate.
Genevrier started exchanging Facebook messages with the girl, who confided in her about troubles at home.
The girl’s mother asked Genevrier to stop contacting her daughter after stumbling on love messages between the two. When that failed, Genevrier was arrested in 2015 and made to sign a peace bond with a list of strict conditions.
She lost her school job that year, but the interaction continued. The girl would write to Genevrier telling her, “You are the woman of my life,” “I love you” and “Do you want to marry me?” The victim even gave a ring to Genevrier, who had the September 2017 expiration date of the second peace bond tattooed on her upper body.
The judge described the written exchanges between the two as expressions of mutual love without any sexual connotation, comparing it to discussions between lovestruck adults. “On reading some of the messages, you wonder sometimes who was adolescent and who was the adult,” Morin said.
The only sexual exchange uncovered between the two led to the criminal charge: Video of Genevrier in the shower in erotic poses dated December 2017 were discovered on the girl’s tablet. Genevrier claimed she was unaware the girl had recorded her during a video phone call.
Genevrier told the court she’s no longer the same person and recognizes the impact of her actions on her husband and daughter.
The court heard Genevrier, a native of France who moved to Quebec with her husband in 2003, had a difficult childhood marked by violence and an alcoholic mother and saw some of herself in the victim. She was determined to make sure the young girl’s adolescence didn’t turn out like her own.
“There was a part of me that was rational — I was married, a mother — and another part who was the rebel adolescent who wanted to help her,” Genevrier told a sexologist in a report quoted by the judge. Despite her actions, Genevrier professed to love only her husband.
Morin sentenced her to six months on the charge of transmitting explicit material, the minimum sentence under the law. Because she has already spent 4 1/2 months in custody, that sentence is considered served.
She was also given a 20-month sentence to be served in the community on two counts of breaching conditions of a peace bond, along with two years probation and 240 hours of community service. Genevrier must register as a sex offender and can’t contact the victim for five years. She cannot work in a setting where children under age 16 are present.
“Understand if you miss a condition, you are incarcerated, and that is for the entire 20-month sentence,” Morin warned Genevrier, who declined to comment outside the court.
Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press