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Vernon teacher found not guilty of having sex with her student

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Vernon teacher found not guilty of having sex with her student

Post by The Invisible Man on Wed Mar 28, 2012 4:34 pm

Check it out HERE. What a terrible thing to have to go through. Regardless that she won, I bet it will take her a long long time to feel good about everything.

VERNON — Deborah Louise Ashton cupped her hand over her mouth and sobbed Wednesday as the judge in her sexual assault trial issued the last two words of her verdict: “Not guilty.”

The 47-year-old former Vernon teacher and basketball coach was facing five charges of sex crimes against a student who was said to have been 13 when their sexual relationship began in 2003.

The boy was one of several witnesses who was called to the stand during the three-week trial in B.C. Supreme Court in Vernon.

He testified he was in Grade 7 when Ashton confessed she had feelings for him. Some months later they progressed to kissing, touching, and eventually sexual intercourse — an act he said took place 231 times over the course of their alleged three-year relationship.

“[It is] a precise number that simply cannot be accepted as reliable and accurate,” said Justice Alison Beames.

Beames added that the boy’s testimony presented other “frailties,” one of which revolved around a large tattoo on Ashton’s stomach.

The boy had no recollection of seeing the tattoo, which was described by Ashton’s lawyer Terry La Liberte as being “the size of a basketball.”

Crown counsel Neil Flanagan argued that although Ashton got the tattoo just a few months after their relationship began, their sex was often hurried and they were never fully unclothed.

Because of Ashton’s tattoo, according to La Liberte, the Crown never had a case.

“I’ve said that from day one,” said La Liberte, speaking moments after his client was acquitted about the evidence he believes tipped the scale in favour of Ashton’s innocence.

The packed courtroom erupted into clapping and supporters cried as Beames neared the end of her verdict.

“All of the evidence supports the conclusion that the accused and the complainant had a relationship ... that went far beyond teacher and student, and coach and player,” said Beames.

But the boy, said Beames, couldn’t recall something else that was crucial to the case: any details about how they had sex numerous times in the back of Ashton’s SUV.

“It would be unsafe to rest a guilty verdict on his case,” said Beames. She told the court she believed others first found out about the alleged sexual relationship when the boy, now 22, was a teenager at a summer basketball camp and confessed to two friends.

“The story spread like wildfire,” said Beames.

It remained only a story until June of 2008, when Ashton was arrested days after the Vernon school district superintendent received an anonymous letter about the relationship.

La Liberte suggested throughout the trial that the boy was then caught in a lie he had to maintain to “save face.”

After her arrest, Ashton was charged with invitation to sexual touching, sexual interference of a person under 14 and sexual assault. Her first trial on those counts ended with a hung jury in 2011. For this re-trial, Ashton faced two new counts of sexual exploitation.

Crown counsel Flanagan’s closing arguments included a summary of the places the pair allegedly had sex, including a school supply room near the crayons. Flanagan told the court the boy’s testimony about shared hotel rooms and cabin bunks, as well as weekends in the Lower Mainland, was reliable.

Beames said she found they did go on trips together, including a Labour Day weekend when Ashton and the boy stayed together at her parents’ Coquitlam home, and left shortly after purchasing Plan B emergency birth control at a “pharmacy three kilometres from her parents’ house.”

And yet, said Beames, “... I am left with some doubt about whether there was a sexual relationship between the complainant and the accused.”

On those words, Ashton’s face turned red, and she started to tear up. After hugs and well-wishes from supporters, she left the Vernon courthouse through a back door without speaking to reporters.

La Liberte said if something happened between Ashton and the boy, “the Crown simply did not have the evidence.”

After nearly four years of facing the charges, he said his client is relieved.

“This is a weight off her shoulders,” he said.

But Ashton still faces a charge of perjury in relation to her 2011 mistrial.

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The Invisible Man

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Re: Vernon teacher found not guilty of having sex with her student

Post by booboo on Wed Mar 28, 2012 11:35 pm

hmmmmm..........WTF....the whole thing silly..should never of gone to court....

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Re: Vernon teacher found not guilty of having sex with her student

Post by Possum on Thu Mar 29, 2012 2:40 am

Too bad this verdict happened. The kid was probably a local hero to his buddies. Boinking your teacher is a pretty cool claim to be able to make. So if she's not guilty then his claims hold less credibility with his buds so he'll have to seek fame some other way.

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Re: Vernon teacher found not guilty of having sex with her student

Post by hedder on Thu Mar 29, 2012 7:28 pm

Alot of time had passed, he was 22 when she got charged, but 13 when it happened.
I don't doubt they did have a sexual relationship, it was just too late to convict her based on memories from back so long ago.
Hopefully they can all heal and move on. And she learns to pick up men her own age...

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