Regina teacher accused of sex crimes tells court he didn’t realize he was texting teenage student

Regina teacher accused of sex crimes tells court he didn’t realize he was texting teenage student

WARNING: This story contains disturbing details.

Regina High School teacher Jeffrey Dumba told a court Thursday that he stopped sending sexually explicit messages to a girl when he realized she was a 15-year-old student.

Dumba, 52, is on trial in King’s Bench Court in Regina, where he has pleaded not guilty to five charges including soliciting a minor to sexually touch himself, distributing sexually explicit material to a minor and possessing child pornography.

Earlier this week, a girl testified at his trial that a 2021 texting relationship with Dumba eventually led to an exchange of explicit photos and videos.

The identity of the teenager, who was 15 years old at the time of the alleged offences, is subject to a publication ban.

On Thursday afternoon, Dumba became the defense’s first witness to testify, describing how he began texting the teen in the summer of 2021 and how those conversations evolved.

Dumba told the court he did not know the teen during the 2020-21 school year because he did not teach her. He also noted that students were required to wear masks that school year. He said he may have interacted with her in a colleague’s class, but denied having any physical contact with her.

The teen previously testified that Dumba hugged her at the end of the school year and occasionally spoke to her at school.

Dumba said he was “hanging out” in his backyard that summer, “drinking and doing some drugs.” He said it happened a few times a week. He also said he shared intimate images with five or six women that summer.

He said he didn’t remember the teen adding him as a contact on the social media platform Snapchat. He didn’t know who she was, but he added her anyway.

Dumba said students had tried to add him as a contact in the past, but were denied.

‘I really have a bad feeling’: Dumba

He testified that the girl told him she was 20 and a “student,” meaning she was attending college.

“In the pictures I saw, she looked like she was 20,” Dumba said.

The initial messages were about “normal, everyday things” but eventually took on a sexual tone, he told the court.

“I remember her sending me nude pictures and me sending nude pictures, probably on Snapchat,” he testified. “I saw a picture of her face and I was like, ‘That doesn’t look like a 20-year-old at all.'”

Dumba said he was concerned that the girl was a high school student.

“I had this really bad feeling — ‘Oh my God. What if this person goes (to his school)?'” he testified. CBC is not naming the school to protect the girl’s identity.

Dumba said he texted her saying, “You knew who I was all along, right?” She replied, “I don’t know,” he told the court.

He said he invited her on July 15 to “get intimate,” but that he didn’t know who she was at the time.

Teen Tried to Continue Conversations, Dumba Testifies

He said he stopped sending her nude photos and having sexual conversations when he found out she was a college student.

“I said, ‘This is not who I am. I can’t do this,'” he testified. The teen responded by expressing distress and tried “a number of times” to continue the sexual conversations, Dumba said.

He deleted the nude photos and all text messages from his phone in late August, he told the court.

When his attorney Darren Kraushaar asked him why he deleted the posts, Dumba replied, “In a panic.”

The 15-year-old gave him “an ultimatum,” Dumba said.

“I was afraid of what she would do with this information. I was terrified. I felt sorry for her.”

He said that before school restarted in September, he sent the teenager a message advising her to behave “normally” at school.

The girl told the court earlier this week that she had contact with Dumba in the hallway and in his classroom during the first two days of school.

Dumba said her locker was near his classroom and that he may have spoken to her on the first day of school.

On September 3, 2021, the third day of school, Dumba was arrested by Regina vice squad in a Walmart parking lot.

When Kraushaar asked him how he felt when he was arrested, Dumba replied, “I don’t think there’s a word for it in the English language.”

“Something that goes beyond terror. At first I thought I was arrested for drugs.”

Teenager questioned

On Thursday morning, the teenage girl appeared on the witness stand for the third day in a row as Kraushaar continued his cross-examination.

The focus of the interrogation was on July 15, 2021, which Kraushaar said was the day when everything “got out of hand.”

He asked the teen if that was the day Dumba invited her to his house for sex, and then he realized who she was. The teen disagreed, saying that she had been invited before, but he had only sent his address once.

Kraushaar asked why there was a screenshot of part of that conversation on her phone, but not the entire conversation.

“I suggest you take this screenshot because this is an important day for you because it’s the day he found out who you were,” Kraushaar said. The teen disagreed with the statement.

The teen said she sent him unsolicited nude photos after that day.

Kraushaar also suggested that Dumba “went cold” in his messages to her after July 15, which the teen also disputed.

The single-judge trial, presided over by Judge Neil Robertson, began Monday and is expected to last a week. It continues on Friday.