Winnipeg police announced this week that they have charged a 42-year-old woman with sexual exploitation, saying she "initiated an inappropriate relationship" with a 17-year-old male student between March and October 2014.
The teen, a Grade 11 student at Elmwood High School, has ADHD and behavioural issues, his mother told CBC News.
Police allege that the accused supplied the student with drugs and alcohol and the relationship progressed over time, resulting in sexual contact on numerous occasions.
"At first, I was very angry and upset about it. Now I just know that she's a sick person and I need to pray for her, so that's what I've been doing," the boy's mother said Tuesday.
CBC News is not identifying the mother to protect the identity of her son.
A 'positive influence' at first
The woman said her son, who had been in trouble with the law in the past, was excelling at school after he transferred to Elmwood — and began working with the educational assistant — two years ago.
The boy then ended up in custody at the Manitoba Youth Centre this past summer, and his mother said that's when she started hearing about phone calls between her son and the woman.
"At that time, I thought it was good. It was positive, you know, because to me at that point she was a positive influence in his life," she said.
The educational assistant then started giving the boy rides from school and his home, according to his mother.
"I know that she picked him up almost on a daily basis," the mother said.
"I found out from my sister that she was giving him drugs and alcohol, giving him money almost every day."
Police said the alleged sexual contact happened during and after school hours. They would not say if it happened on school property.
Mother met with school staff
Horrified to learn the two were allegedly having sex, the boy's mother said she met with school staff and convinced her son to speak to police.
Sheryl Ann Dyck was arrested on Dec. 11 and charged with sexual exploitation, administering a substance with intent to stupefy a person to have illicit sexual intercourse, supplying liquor to a minor, and driving without a licence or with an invalid licence.
A Winnipeg school division would only confirm that Dyck was an employee at one of its schools. She has been on paid administrative leave since October.
A school division spokesperson said clinical services are being provided to the student and his family, including counselling.
'He's had a rough life'
The boy will be changing schools because of what happened and he's been in trouble with the law again, according to his mother.
She said the accused continued seeing the teen, even after being ordered not to contact him, until recently.
"I can't stop him from calling her, talking to her. I'm just hoping that he's not," she said.
Dyck's husband told CBC News that he believes his wife is being framed by the teen.
The boy's mother disagrees, saying the woman gained the trust of her son, who needed help, then preyed on the boy.
"It's my son and, you know, he's had a rough life," she said, her voice cracking.
"You could call him street smart, so he seems a lot older than what he is, but it just kind of sickens me that … somebody could take advantage [of him] because to me, he's still, no matter what his age is, he's still my child."