British Columbia

Abbotsford teacher faces sex charges over text message

School officials say there has been mixed reaction after charges of sexual exploitation and luring were laid against an Abbotsford, B.C., high school teacher.

School officials say there has been mixed reaction after charges of sexual exploitation and luring were laid against an Abbotsford, B.C., high school teacher.

Martin Careen, 49, faces one count of invitation to sexual touching and one count of using a computer to lure a child under 18.

The Abbotsford resident is a social studies teacher and soccer coach at St. John Brebeuf Regional Secondary School east of Vancouver, where he has been placed on administrative leave.

Careen is alleged to have sent cellphone text messages to a female high school student, according to Const. Ian MacDonald.

The charges relate to just one student and police don't believe any other students are involved, said MacDonald.

"The nature of the incident — not to downplay it — but it was a communication-based offence, so we're not talking about actual physical contact," said MacDonald.

School acted quickly

School officials say they acted swiftly when Abbotsford police told administrators about their investigation in mid-April.

Careen was immediately put on paid leave and letters were sent home with students, according to Doug Lauson, the superintendent of Catholic Independent Schools for the Vancouver Archdiocese.

Careen's identity was not revealed in the letters sent by the school, but parents and students within the small school community quickly found out that Careen was the teacher involved.

Lauson said Careen has taught at the Abbotsford school for 10 years and in those years, he has not heard any complaints about the popular teacher and soccer and basketball coach.

Chris Blesch, the principal at St. John Brebeuf, also described Careen as a popular teacher who coached both boys and girls soccer and basketball, and said many in the school community have supported Careen through the investigation.

"Because of his record, most of them were very supportive…didn't believe it was true," said Blesch.

Careen's first court appearance will be Aug. 6.

With files from The Canadian Press

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