Calgary

Calgary teacher accused of sexual relationship with student banned from teaching for 1 year

A Calgary teacher has been banned from her profession for a year after authorities withdrew charges of sexual touching of a minor and communicating for the purpose of a sexual offence with a minor.

Allison Prystai entered into a peace bond after sexual abuse charges were withdrawn

Former Queen Elizabeth High School teacher Allison Prystai was supposed to go on trial this week, accused of having a sexual relationship with a student. Instead her charges were withdrawn and she entered into a peace bond. She cannot teach for one year. (Google Street View )

A Calgary teacher accused of having a sexual relationship with a student has been banned from teaching for one year.

Allison Prystai, 26, used to work as a teacher at Queen Elizabeth High School. She was charged with sexual touching of a minor and communicating for the purpose of a sexual offence with a minor.

Her trial was supposed to begin Monday but the Crown instead withdrew the charges. Prystai has entered into a peace bond.

The former science teacher will be under court-ordered conditions for one year: she must attend counselling as directed by her probation officer and can not hold a job that puts her in a position of trust or authority over people under the age of 18. 

A peace bond is like an extension of a person's bail conditions. In this case, Prystai must also continue to stay away from the complainant.

Although Prystai did not have to admit any facts, allegations were read aloud by prosecutor Jenny Rees in order to support the peace bond.

'Very personal relationship'

The allegations are include that in July 2017, the 16-year-old boy's parents became suspicious when he told them he was in a relationship with someone and that if anyone found out, they would both get in trouble.

The parents gained access to their son's email account where they discovered worrying messages exchanged between Prystai and the boy. It appeared the two "had a very personal relationship," according to the allegations read by Rees. 

Although the trial was supposed to begin this week, Rees said, "there were significant proof problems in the case," so it was resolved by the peace bond instead.

The Calgary Board of Education would not comment on whether Prystai would be allowed to work after her court-ordered conditions, which include a ban on working with children, expire in 12 months. The board did confirm she was no longer employed with the CBE.

No criminal record

According to the wording of the peace bond, there is a fear Prystai will commit an offence on a person under the age of 16.

During the 12-month peace bond, Prystai's court-ordered conditions would show up if she were to cross the border or have a criminal check done by an employer. But once the one-year period is over, she will not have a criminal record.

Criminal defence lawyer Jim Lutz did not represent Prystai but did offer insight into how a peace bond works.

"It's a tough choice for the accused because it requires them to give up their right to a trial and possibly being found not guilty. However, if the client is looking for certainty with charges being withdrawn, clearly this is the best option," said Lutz.

"The accused does not make any admission of finding or responsibility; they simply acknowledge that there a basis for fear."

CBC News did request a comment from Prystai's lawyer but did not receive a response.

About the Author

Meghan Grant

CBC Calgary reporter

Meghan Grant is the courts and crime reporter for CBC Calgary.