Mississauga teacher found not guilty of sexual assault

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A 46-year-old Brampton man who taught at a Mississauga high school has been found not guilty after being charged with four counts of sexual assault.

Back in 2017, investigators with Peel Regional Police's Special Victims Unit said that Gavin McAnally, a teacher from St. Francis Xavier Secondary School, had been involved in inappropriate relationships with two teenaged students between January 2016 and May 2017. 

McAnally was charged with sexual interference, invitation to sexual touching, sexual exploitation and sexual assault.

According to the decision by Ontario Superior Court of Justice Judge William LeMay, the fact that the accused communicated with the teens in question on a regular basis is clear (the decision notes that the Crown Attorney filed an exhibit with more than 100 pages of text messages between August of 2016 and April of 2017), but the judge found "frailties" in some of the evidence presented. 

According to the decision, the two teens—whose identities cannot be revealed—and their peers alleged that the accused engaged in inappropriate conduct with them while they were underage students. 

The charges stem from two separate incidents, one in the summer of 2016 and one in February of 2017. 

According to the decision, one boy had a relationship with the accused in and out of school. The decision says the relationship between the accuser and the accused developed over time between Grade 9 and Grade 12.  

The document says it progressed from conversation during and after school, to visits in the accused's classroom. Later, the accused began taking the boy and his friends out for food and eventually hosted him and some of his friends at his condo to play games and watch movies.  

The document says that sometimes the accused would take the boy or other students to Raptors games.

The boy alleged that sometime in the summer of 2016 when he was still just 17-years-old, the accused asked him for a picture of his penis. The boy testified that, during high school, the accused regularly spoke to him about sexual topics, such as masturbation, sexually transmitted diseases, penis size and circumcision.  

Another boy, who also spent time with the accused in and outside of school, alleged that the accused touched his penis. 

The judge said the evidence presented by the first boy contained "inconsistencies." According to the decision, his evidence of when the aforementioned penis picture was requested was vague. The judge also notes that there were some issues with the text messages he submitted to police. According to the judge, the missing text messages contradict the boy's evidence about how long he remained at the accused's condominium after the accused allegedly asked to see his pubic hair.  

Second, the judge said that the text messages demonstrated that the boy's relationship with the accused continued after a March 15, 2017 incident during which another boy reportedly heard the accuser say "no" or "stop" to the accused while both were at the accused's condo. 

The judge also noted "inconsistencies" in the other boy's testimony. While the judge acknowledged it's not uncommon for people to continue to associate with alleged attackers after the fact, he does say the boy "was initially not completely candid with me about his contact with the accused after the incident in February of 2015 allegedly took place." 

The decision says the boy testified that he was uncomfortable with the accused and was trying to avoid contact after late February of 2017, but that the amount of contact, including the amount of contact that the boy initiated, is inconsistent with his evidence that he was trying to avoid the accused.  

"This inconsistency raises significant concerns about the reliability of [his] evidence on the core events relating to both charges. Those concerns are sufficient, in and of themselves, to raise a reasonable doubt," the decision reads. 

The accused was found not guilty on all four counts (with the crown withdrawing one charge prior to the judge issuing his decision on the final three charges). 

It is not clear if the accused has returned to teaching. 

To read the entire decision, click here.

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