An elementary school teacher from Vernon, B.C. accused of sleeping with a young student 231 times over the course of three years was acquitted on all counts this week.
Deborah Ashton was placed on trial for an alleged affair with a student who would have been twelve at the time of the earliest incidents. Her judge threw out the case, ruling that there was not enough evidence to reasonably convict. Ashton began sobbing when she heard the news.
Ashton, 47, was facing five counts of sexual misconduct with a minor, each charge stemming from an alleged sexual relationship that began in 2002. During the course of the trial Ashton's accuser testified against her, claiming that she expressed romantic feelings for him when he was in the seventh grade.
The boy's testimony was called into question when he failed to identify a "basketball-sized" tattoo on Ashton's stomach.
The prosecuting attorney tried to argue that although Ashton had the tattoo at the time of the relationship, the sex with her accuser was often hurried and the pair rarely took off all of their clothes. The judge wasn't buying it.
"All of the evidence supports the conclusion that the accused and the complainant had a relationship . . . that went far beyond teacher and student. I am left with some doubt about whether there was a sexual relationship between the complainant and the accused," said Justice Alison Beames.