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Third psychiatrist offers opinion of Amy Hood

PICTOU - A third psychiatrist testifying at the Amy Hood trial said Wednesday that the former school teacher showed obvious signs of being in a manic state in the spring of 2013.

Dr. Stephen Hucker interviewed Hood in March 2014 as well as family members to assess her mental state. Hood admitted to two counts of luring, one count of sexual exploitation and one count of sexual interference.   The trial is focusing on the whether Hood was criminally responsible at the time of the acts based on the state of her mental health at time.

Hood told Hucker that one of her former male students initiated the first text message and their conversations were about peer pressure and drug use.  The texts eventually became sexual and led to one instance of oral sex in his driveway in April 2013.

Other text messages were sent to another boy because she said she was concerned about him and rumours about his drug use.  She began texting more boys from the same circle of friends and sent photos and videos of herself in a sexual way.

She told Hucker she couldn’t believe she was being controlled by a 15 year old and wanted to please him by following his instructions to send the videos and photos.  Hood said she was obsessed with the group of boys and texted them about whom they were dating and what they were doing.

Hood said she told the first boy to shut down the texting because it was not appropriate, but started again a week later and continued conversing with him until the end of August.  Hood was suspended from teaching at Thorburn Consolidated School in October 2013 and received medical help a month later for bipolar disorder.

Hucker also interviewed Hood’s mother and siblings who called her a “moral compass” but noticed a drastic change in her behaviour, appearance and energy in early 2013.  They also noticed excessive texting and risky behaviour such as speeding and texting while driving.

Her family said Hood was fairly “conservative” in nature so they were shocked when they learned about the sexual texts and photos sent to the boys.  Hucker said all of her symptoms equate to mania that she could have been in from April to September 2013.

“It was a full blown picture,” he said, adding it could affect judgment, decision making and reasoning.  He added that intellectually and professionally she knew what she was doing was wrong, but her mind was so disturbed she couldn’t comprehend it morally.

Crown Attorney Bill Gorman pointed out contradicting statements from Hood to different psychiatrists and made reference to statements where she had lied to police, family or school board about her offences.

He also asked if family members would embellish what they said to doctors to protect Hood.

Hucker said he found the family members sincere in their statements but admitted they were aware of her situation and talked to her about it so there might have been some “cross-contamination of information” but it wasn’t consistent or deliberate.

Gorman pointed out that she was texting one of the boys while away to New Hampshire in the spring of 2013 and was clearly aware of her surroundings as well as other details such as the cost to text and other forms of communication they could use.

Hucker said she knew what she was doing even though she was in a manic episode, but was following her urges rather than making rational decisions. 

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