A former high school teacher in southern Alberta has been found not guilty of having an illegal relationship with a student.
Jentry Jack Salmon, who is 35, was charged in 2017 with one count each of child luring and sexual exploitation.
The complainant, who was 17 when Salmon was charged, testified that she and Salmon went on drives together and that he kissed her on the neck and cheek a number of times.
Justice E.C. Wilson, who acquitted Salmon, said he based his verdict on the testimony of Salmon’s wife, who told court her husband was at home on the nights he was alleged to have met the student.
Salmon testified that he only met with the student to offer his help with issues she faced in school and at home.
He testified that he immediately took steps to distance himself from the student, when he discovered she was developing feelings for him.
Outside court, Salmon said the past 2 1/2 years have taken a toll on him and his family.
“It’s been hard on everybody and we sure appreciate the verdict that was reached,” Salmon said Thursday.
“Everybody shares their opinions and decides my guilt based on things that are read or printed or said by others and, all along, I never had a chance to defend myself until this week.
“This was the first week that I’ve had an opportunity to do that and, obviously, the verdict was reached because of that.”
Salmon was suspended from his position with the West Wind School Division.
He said he is not sure if he wants to return to teaching, but will try to ensure his teaching certificate remains valid.
“That’s what I’ve always wanted to do all my life. It’s hard not to feel a little bit jaded and a little bit burned right now.”
The complainant and her family left court without speaking to the media. (CHLB, CTV)
The Canadian Press