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Gail Gagne

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Gagne’s defense attorney, Earl Grey, who spoke to reporters Monday at the Hennepin County Government Center after taking a phone call, called the case “a tragedy for her because she lost her career.”

David Brewster, Star Tribune

Gagne: Stayed sentence for sex misconduct

  • Article by: RANDY FURST
  • Star Tribune
  • March 28, 2011 - 9:19 PM

A former Cretin-Derham Hall teacher on Monday received a stayed jail sentence of one year and a $300 fine for having sex three years ago with a former high school football star.

Under the plea agreement Gail Gagne, 28, also must register as a sex offender, said Hennepin County District Judge Richard Scherer.

Gagne, who declined to speak in the courtroom or after the hearing, is the daughter of former professional wrestler Greg Gagne and the granddaughter of former wrestler Vern Gagne.

Both her father and her mother, Mary Gagne, accompanied her to the sentencing. Gail Gagne, who now lives in California, will be on probation for two years and was ordered to have no contact with the student or his family.

The student, who is now in college, did not attend the sentencing. But his mother, in a statement in court, said Gagne's conduct had greatly affected her son and a sibling who also attended Cretin-Derham Hall. They were subjected to gossip and missed opportunities for leadership positions at the St. Paul Catholic high school, she said.

"The family is left holding the dirty laundry of the defendant's unprofessional and self-serving actions," the mother said. Judge Scherer asked reporters not to name the mother or her son.

Gagne's attorney, Earl Gray, called the case "a tragedy for her because she lost her career" and can't teach again.

It is a crime for a person in a position of authority to have sexual contact with an underage youth.

Under the agreement, one count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct, a felony, was dropped and a second count was reduced from a third- to fifth-degree felony, making it a gross misdemeanor.

"I think we had an appropriate resolution for an unhappy situation," said Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman after the sentencing. He said it would have made no difference if the victim was a female rather than a male.

Hamline University law Prof. Joseph Daly said he didn't fault Freeman and that the plea agreement saves the victim further embarrassment.

But he added that there's an unfortunate double standard in such cases that prosecutors might have feared would influence jurors and get in the way of a conviction.

While one "shouldn't be thinking this way," Daly said, "almost everybody is going to be thinking, 'What 16-year-old boy wouldn't want to have sex with this very beautiful 25-year-old teacher?'"

Gagne, formerly of Bloomington, was hired by Cretin-Derham Hall in 2007 as an assistant basketball coach and worked as a substitute teacher from January through September 2008. She was then hired as a full-time teacher.

In the summer of 2008, she was a weight-room instructor and supervised the teenager, who was then 16.

She engaged in sexual conduct with him from July 1 to Sept. 1, 2008, which accounted for the first felony charge that was dropped. She had sex with him again at a Bloomington hotel Sept. 13-14, 2008, which led to the second charge.

Randy Furst • 612-673-73822

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