A Thunder Bay artist and former teacher has been found not guilty of sexual assault.

Luc Paul Despres was charged almost two years ago after a complaint from one of his models.

In a Thunder Bay court Wednesday Justice Frank Valente emphasized that his verdict was not a reflection on the credibility of the alleged victim — but he wasn't satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that Despres was guilty.

The case boiled down to what happened in five or six seconds in May 2011.

That day, the 23-year-old complainant agreed to help Despres test a special effect he was working on for film students.

It involved him holding her from behind and pretending to be a vampire.

She said while his hand was around her midsection, he reached down and touched her inappropriately.

Despres testified he didn't — and if his hand had slipped, it would have been purely by accident.


Thunder Bay defence lawyer David Bruzzese said his client is relieved. (Nicole Ireland/CBC)

His lawyer, David Bruzzese, said Despres is relieved he's been acquitted.

"We were hopeful this would be the result and pretty much what we could expect in a judgment like this where these are very difficult cases," he said.

But Bruzzese added that going through the legal process has been hard on his client.

"It's had a huge toll," Bruzzese said. "He's lost his professional career as a teacher. I don't know whether he'll be able to reclaim that."

The Crown said it will not appeal.