Former teacher/counsellor acquitted of sexual assault

A former teacher and counsellor at a Kamloops-Thompson district high school has been found not guilty of allegations that he sexually assaulted a female Grade 8 student last year.

The teacher cannot be named under a court-ordered publication ban put in place to protect the identity of the complainant, nor can the school at which the alleged incident took place be identified.

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Justice Marianne Armstrong acquitted the teacher of charges of sexually touching a person under 16 and sexual assault in November 2017, finding the Crown had not proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt.

In making her ruling, Armstrong said that while she felt the girl was honest in her testimony, the student’s memory of the alleged incidents was spotty.

During his testimony at trial, the man accused of the offences denied having touched the girl.

Police were contacted in November 2017 after the complainant and two friends told another teacher about a pair of incidents earlier in the month, both involving the same student and teacher.

In court, the complainant, now 15, testified by way of video link that the first incident took place at some point last November when she forgot her water bottle in the teacher’s classroom.

According to the girl, she went to retrieve the bottle and the teacher rubbed her back before groping her backside.

The second incident, about a week later, took place in the teacher’s office, court heard.

The girl said the teacher called her out of another class and to his office, where they began a conversation and he closed the door.

“I don’t know how, but we were talking,” she said. “We got on the topic of heartbeats. He went to feel where mine was.”

The girl put her hand on the left side of her chest as she showed what happened.

“Mine is over here, but he put his hand way down here,” she said, referencing her right breast. “I just backed up.”

The girl said she left the office, but did not tell anyone about either incident until days later, when she confided in friends.

© 2018 Kamloops This Week

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