An Edmonton high school drama teacher has been sentenced to 15 months of house arrest for having sex with one of his students.

A provincial court judge in Edmonton handed out the sentence Monday to Mark McNally, 36, after the teacher pleaded guilty to a charge of sexual exploitation involving a Grade 12 girl.


Former teacher Mark McNally leaves court Monday after pleading guilty to sexual exploitation for having sex with one of his students five years ago. ((Janice Johnston/CBC))

In an agreed statement of facts, McNally admitted he became romantically involved with the 17-year-old student at Archbishop MacDonald High School five years ago, and that the relationship evolved into a sexual one.

The girl did not come forward until three years later.

Her identify is protected by a publication ban, but in court Monday she said the relationship stole her confidence and destroyed many of her subsequent relationships.

McNally, a popular teacher, resigned after the charges were laid last year.

"It was your responsibility to avoid becoming emotionally involved. You should have known better," the judge told McNally in handing down the sentence.

"Your life as a teacher and educator has come to an end." 

McNally will be allowed to leave his home for work and other appointments, but will have to observe a weekday curfew, and will be confined to his home on weekends.

He still faces disciplinary action by the Alberta Teachers' Association. Such a conviction almost always means a permanent ban on teaching, officials said.

With files from Janice Johnston