Former Abbotsford high school teacher Martin Careen will serve a 60-day intermittent sentence for sending sexually explicit texts to a student.
Careen, 52, was convicted last summer of invitation to sexual touching. He was sentenced yesterday in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster.
Careen was in regular text communication with the then-17-year-old victim, who cannot be identified because of a publication ban, from fall 2008 until the end of January 2009. He and other teachers at St. John Brebeuf Regional Secondary made themselves available to students outside of school hours via phone and text.
Telephone records show that on the evening of Jan. 27, 2009 Careen and the young woman spoke on the phone and texted about an exam she was scheduled to take. Shortly after 11 p.m. the inappropriate texts began. The content included innuendo and talk of preferred sexual positions and sexual acts.
"I didn't want to tell my parents," the young woman wrote in a victim-impact statement. "I kept it to myself."
However, she told a few close friends she trusted and the word got out at school and online. The victim went to police in April 2009.
"People were so angry with me because they thought I had made it up," she wrote.
At trial Careen denied sending the sexual texts to the student, and he maintains his innocence. Justice Terence Schultes said in his sentencing decision that the offence was a combination of middle-aged sexual infatuation and the distancing effect of text messaging.
Schultes called it "a gross lapse of judgment."
Prior to the incident Careen had a sterling record and was a respected and well-liked teacher. Defence submitted 36 reference letters on his behalf.
Worse than the sentence for Careen is the effect the charges and publicity have had on him, Schultes said.
"He lost a career that meant everything to him," Schultes said.
Careen is a low risk to reoffend and Schultes said he is satisfied that Careen has been deterred. Careen was taken into custody following his sentencing.
His sentence is to be served Wednesday to Friday, every three weeks, until 60 days have been completed.
The sentence was structured this way to allow him to work at an Alberta construction firm for two weeks at a time.
When he is not in jail, Careen will be on probation. The probation will continue for a year after he has completed his jail time.
Conditions of probation include no contact with the victim; no contact with females under age 18 unless he is in the company of another adult and no employment or volunteer work that puts him in contact with females under 18.
Careen has not taught since he was charged in July 2009. He is not eligible to practise in B.C. and Careen plans to allow his teaching certificate to lapse in June.