Former Abbotsford teacher appeals sex exploitation conviction

Martin Careen was found guilty of sending suggestive text messages to a female student.

Martin Careen

Martin Careen

A former teacher from Abbotsford is appealing his conviction on a count of sending sexually explicit text messages to a student.

Martin Careen’s appeal will be heard Friday before a three-member panel at the B.C. Court of Appeal in Vancouver.

Careen, 53, was sentenced in May 2012 to a 60-day jail term for one count of invitation to sexual touching (sexual exploitation).

He was a teacher at St. John Brebeuf Regional Secondary – a private Catholic school in Abbotsford – when he had a text conversation with a female student, then 17, in the late evening and early morning of Jan. 27 and 28, 2009.

At first, the texts addressed an upcoming history exam and other school work, but they became sexual in nature.

At the time of his ruling, Justice Terence Schultes said Careen’s sentence should be on the lighter side for such an offence because the texts in question were sent over a brief overnight period and were not ongoing.

However, he said the offence was serious because Careen was in a position of trust at the time of the text exchange and his actions negatively impacted the victim.

“The language with which he addressed the student was deeply offensive,” Schultes said.

During Careen’s trial, his lawyer had argued that Careen’s cellphone had been accessible to others in his household, and he did not send the offensive texts.

Careen is no longer permitted to teach and, at the time of his sentencing, was employed as an office worker for an Alberta construction company.

A decision in the appeal is not expected until a later date.