2017-09-20

Former Lunenburg area teacher denies sexual assault charges at trial

by Michael Lee

A retired education official from New Jersey has denied accusations that he sexually assaulted a male 40 years ago.

Brian David Fogelson, 63, testified September 15 in Bridgewater provincial court, where he faced allegations of indecent assault and gross indecency.

The charges are alleged to have taken place between January 1, 1975, and December 31, 1977, near Kingston in the Annapolis Valley.

Fogelson, a Newton, New Jersey, native who lives in Venice, Florida, taught music in Lunenburg and Mahone Bay from 1975 to 1988 before returning to the U.S.

He earned master's and doctorate degrees from two Florida universities and recently retired after seven years as superintendent and chief education officer in the Blairstown, New Jersey-based, North Warren Regional School District, and was named the top superintendent in New Jersey's Warren County in 2015.

The Crown called one witness, the complainant, to testify against Fogelson.

The witness, who cannot be named due to a publication ban, said he was 12 or 13 at the time when Fogelson offered to drive him and two other students to a summer band camp at Acadia University.

The witness said they showed up a day early and stayed the night at the home of "Bill" Perrot.

William Albert Perrot is a friend of Fogelson and a former music teacher in Kingston. The two are 1975 graduates of Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey.

Perrot pleaded guilty in 2015 to two counts of indecent assault on a male for incidents dating back to the 1970s and was sentenced to two and a half years in prison. He was granted parole last year.

The witness said he was offered liquor and took a beer, but did not remember finishing it and reported being sober.

He said later there was a "tiny party" with some of Perrot's students, and both Perrot and Fogelson were drinking.

After the party, the witness said he slept in a bed with Fogelson in an upstairs bedroom.

Both were wearing underwear and the witness said they each slept on either side of the bed.

The witness said he woke up with Fogelson's hand in the witness's underwear stroking his "privates."

He said he jumped out of bed, walked to the door and looked back at Fogelson before leaving the room.

"I didn't know what to think," said the witness. " I remembered I cried. I was in total disbelief of what happened."

Fogelson's defence lawyer questioned the witness's testimony and statement to police in August 2015.

The witness told police he may have been 13, 14 or 15 at the time of the offences, but testified in court that he was 12 or 13.

The witness said he didn't have the ability to answer the question correctly to police, but had tried to do the math then.

Defence counsel also pointed to a statement where the witness said Perrot's house was possibly white, but he could have been "imagining," and that he told police he had a "buzz on," when in court he said he was sober.

The witness responded saying he believed the outside of the house was mainly white and that he remembered opening one beer.

Meanwhile, Fogelson testified saying he never drove the witness to band camp or to the Annapolis Valley and denied giving children liquor or that he slept in the same bed with the witness, took him to Perrot's house or sexually assaulted him.

He said he recruited the witness to band after his father asked for help in getting his son back on track at school.

It was revealed in court that Perrot had a number of homes, including one in Middleton, and Fogelson said he used to drive students there from time to time for individual music lessons with a teacher he knew there.

The teacher lived in Middleton and Fogelson said they would have the lessons at Perrot's residence.

But Fogelson maintained he never drove students to band camp. "I would not have done that," he said.

Fogelson said he knew the witness had gone to band camp in the past, but he did not know when.

He said he tried to get those records from Acadia University, but was told they weren't there.

During the summers of 1976 and 1977, Fogelson also said he took roughly two-week long summer courses near the beginning of July to learn how to teach reading so he could increase his teaching licence level.

He told the court that he went back to New Jersey after that to help out at his father's sporting goods and trophy store.

The case has been adjourned to September 21 to determine whether certain evidence can be submitted to the court.

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