Stephenville High student acquitted of sexual assault charges
Teenager now found not guilty in 4 counts of sexual assault, with 2 more withdrawn
A male teenager in Stephenville has been cleared of all charges in two of his three trials for sexual assault, in a case that sparked tension and protests in the community and led to changes in the province's Schools Act.
The high school student pleaded not guilty in all three trials, which were held in Stephenville in June and August. In total, the teenager faced six counts of sexual assault, as well as other charges including forcible confinement and use of a drug.
Judge Lynn Cole found the youth not guilty Tuesday morning in Stephenville's provincial court of all charges in his second trial.
The teenager was previously acquitted of all charges from his first trial in August.
"Justice was served, because he wasn't guilty of any criminal acts," said the teenager's lawyer, Mark Mills.
The Crown has withdrawn the two charges of sexual assault in the third trial, set for sentencing in January, with a plea agreement in place for a charge of sexual interference.
The teenager cannot be named due to the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
In February 2018, students at Stephenville High protested the teenager being allowed to re-enter the building. Since that time, the Schools Act has been amended to give school districts the ability to refuse admission to students perceived as a threat to others.