|Mary Gowans leaves University Court with her lawyer Peter Brauti in Toronto on Sept. 13, 2012. (QMI Agency/DAVE THOMAS)
TORONTO - A Scarborough teacher accused of sexually assaulting a former student when he was 15 years old denied Monday that she “manoeuvred and manipulated” her schedule to facilitate a sexual relationship.
Crown attorney Soula Olver suggested that Mary Gowans set up opportunities with the teen — such as hiring him to babysit her children and jogging with the teen — to further their relationship.
Gowans denied the suggestions — or that any sex occurred.
She asserted that their friendship ended after the teen surprised her by kissing her and grabbing her crotch on Jan. 5, 2010.
“Did you cross the line?” said Olver.
“No, I did not,” Gowans replied.
Olver also suggested that the reason the teen revealed the alleged relationship to his family was that Gowans told the teen that her husband would be away on a business trip in late January 2010, affording them hours of uninterrupted make-out time during babysitting.
Gowans denied this, saying although her husband made out-of-town trips, these weren’t scheduled in advance.
The teen also testified Gowans confronted him after a girl he’d asked to the Mowat Collegiate semi-formal dance had spoken to Gowans for advice.
She denied that jealousy motivated her to confront teen who is now an 18-year-old university student.
He alleged that he “made out” with the teacher on a few occasions at her home while he babysat and mentored Gowans’ children, now 12 and nine, between November 2009 and January 2010.
Gowans, 43, has pleaded not guilty to sexual assault and sexual interference.
She quit her 15-year teaching job at the suggestion of her union after she was charged in January 2010.
“I didn’t feel I had any choice. My life had been destroyed on every possible level and I couldn’t deal with it anymore,” said Gowans.
Several months after being arrested, her marriage of 17 years collapsed.
“We couldn’t get past it. My husband was a very private man. We didn’t have any problems aside from those of any normal marriage,” said Gowans.
She said she was fighting depression, CAS was questioning children at her school and the pressure of the charges and publicity overwhelmed them.
Gowans said she never told her husband of the teen’s advances until after she was charged because she feared he would have either confronted the teen or reported him to the police.
The trial continues.