A former Toronto elementary school teacher has been found not guilty of having an inappropriate relationship with a student.

Mary Gowans, 42, was acquitted on Friday on charges of sexual assault and sexual exploitation in relation to a 15-year-old boy.

“It has been a very, very difficult week. The last few years of my life have been virtually destroyed by these allegations,” Gowans told reporters following the verdict.

“I didn’t do anything wrong and I am glad this is done.”

The teenager, who is now 18 and cannot be identified due to a publication ban, claimed that he had a relationship with Gowans four years ago, and that he used to babysit for and go jogging with her.

He told the court their relationship included sexual touching, kissing and hundreds of text messages.
Gowans, who took the stand in her own defence during the trial, said the student fabricated a story about their relationship after he groped her and she turned him down.

CTV Toronto’s Austin Delaney reported on Friday that the judge ruled that while he found “some evidence” to support the student’s version of events, he also found the inconsistencies troubling.
With files from CTV Toronto’s Austin Delaney