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Former teacher loses appeal of his 2011 sexual exploitation conviction
An Abbotsford former teacher has lost an appeal into his 2011 conviction for sexual exploitation.
Martin Careen, 53, appealed the verdict, saying that the trial judge erred when he granted an amendment to the original charge.
Careen, a former teacher at St. John Brebeuf Regional Secondary, a private Catholic school, was convicted of invitation to sexual touching (sexual exploitation) based on suggestive text messages he sent to a 17-year-old female student in January 2009.
He was sentenced in May 2012 to six months in jail and was banned by the Catholic Independent Schools of Vancouver Archdiocese from teaching in the Catholic school system.
Careen had pleaded not guilty to the charge of asking the student to touch herself for a sexual purpose.
In closing submissions at his trial, the Crown successfully applied to amend the charge to state that Careen had asked the student to touch him, inviting physical contact between the two.
Judge Terrence Schultes granted the amendment, saying no evidence or argument had been presented during the trial to indicate that Careen had asked the student to touch herself.
In the appeal, Careen said Schultes was wrong in granting the amendment and, therefore, the verdict was unreasonable.
He also stated that the judge had erred when he said the teen had taken the suggestive text messages "very seriously."
Careen argued that the girl had not taken him seriously and he was "merely engaging in jovial dirty talk or banter without intending to be taken seriously."
All three judges who considered the appeal were in agreement that Schultes had not erred, and the appeal was dismissed.
"Mr. Careen sent text messages to (the girl) which either expressly or by implication invited her to engage in sexual activity with him. On the totality of the evidence, it was open to the trial judge to infer that Mr. Careen intended to persuade (the teen) to engage in sexual activity with him; in other words, to infer that Mr. Careen meant what he said," stated Justice David Frankel.