Update: *VIDEO* Teacher Aquitted On Sex Assault Charges
It's a not guilty verdict for former Scarborough teacher Mary Gowans on allegations she had been involved in a sexual relationship with one of her former students.
The 43 year old had pleaded not guilty to charges involving her relationship with a former Joseph Howe Sr. student from November 2009 through January 2010.
Gowans, who quit her teaching job with 17 years of experience after the allegations, was found not guilty of sexually assault and sexual interference by Ontario Superior Court Justice John McMahon in a 4th floor courthouse at 361 University Ave.
The teen was 15 at the time of the alleged relationship.
The two met when the teen was in her Grade 7 French class, and Gowans taught him again the next year.
"I'm glad it's over but at the same time, I have the task of rebuilding my life now," she said outside the courthouse. "It has been a very, very, difficult week and the last three years of my life have virtually been destroyed as a result of these allegations."
Her accuser claimed that Gowans had shown him her breasts and allowed him to touch her crotch, something the former teacher denied.
With no concrete evidence of a sexual relationship, McMahon had to rely primarily on the testimony of Gowans and the now 18 year-old. He said there were inconsistencies in both sides of the story, ultimately ruling that the Crown failed to prove its case (and the boy's side of the story) beyond a reasonable doubt.
McMahon also told Gowans she displayed poor professional judgement during their relationship. The boy babysat her two children and helped with the hockey team and running club she organized.
The two exchanged more than 2,000 text messages from November of 2009 to January of 2010, sometimes after 10 p.m. on school nights. She claimed the messages were innocent and involved conversations about hockey or babysitting, while her accuser said they were often sexual. None of the messages were saved.
Wearing a light blue collared shirt, the 18 year-old left the courtroom showing little emotion and at times during the judge's decision, placed his elbows on his knees and glanced down at the floor or off to the side.
He silently walked into a waiting black SUV with his family when he left the courthouse several hours after the verdict was announced.
After the allegations came to light Gowans was suspended from her job and later resigned. Her marriage also fell apart. Following the verdict she did not address questions on whether or not she would try and get another teaching job.
She still faces scrutiny from the Ontario College of Teachers and if she is handed the most severe punishment available, she will lose her teaching license.
(With files from Dave Bradley)