Teacher accused of sex assault appears in court
A teacher who is accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a former student when he was in Grade 10 appeared in a Toronto court Wednesday.
Mary Gowans has pleaded not guilty to sexual assault and sexual exploitation charges stemming from her relationship with a male student four years ago.
The student, who is now 18 and whose identity is protected by a publication ban, told court he had an inappropriate sexual relationship with Gowans, which included kissing and touching.
The relationship allegedly started in the teen’s Grade 8 French class, but the alleged abuse stems from incidents when the student was in Grade 10 at Joseph Howe Senior Public School in Scarborough.
The teen was 15 and Gowans was 40 at the time.
The teen said he thought Gowans was in love with him and said he also had strong feelings for Gowans at the time, saying that he wanted to have a sexual relationship with her.
The former student told the court that he would babysit for his former teacher. On four separate occasions while he was babysitting, something happened between him and Gowans, he said.
On one of those four occasions, the court heard that the teen touched Gowans and she replied, “No, this is wrong.”
That’s when the relationship ended, the court heard.
The teen, who is now a university student, told the court that it was actually he who ended the relationship, after Gowans found out about a girl who he took to the junior prom.
Gowans became emotional, the teen said, and he felt that she was trying to control him.
For its part, the defence argued that there was no inappropriate relationship between the pair and that the teen had tried to touch Gowans, was turned down, and then fabricated a story to tell his family.
With files from CTV Toronto’s Austin Delaney