Trial Begins for Western Canada High School Teacher Accused of Sexual Exploitation of Former Student

0
Former Western Canada High School teacher Jason Selby, 38, is accused of initiating a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old former student two weeks after she graduated. (Court exhibit)
Former Western Canada High School teacher Jason Selby, 38, is accused of initiating a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old former student two weeks after she graduated. (Court exhibit)

Jason Selby, 38, a former teacher at Western Canada High School, is currently on trial, facing charges of sexual assault and exploitation. The prosecution’s first witness was the alleged victim, who is now 23 years old and identified as “Amy” to protect her identity.

A Forbidden Relationship Comes to Light

According to Amy, the relationship began shortly after her graduation in July 2018, when she was 17 years old. “[He said] ‘you cannot tell anyone about us, this is very serious, it can ruin my career,'” Selby allegedly told her, emphasizing the need for secrecy. Amy had been a student in Selby’s class since Grade 10.

Initial Contact and Defense Strategy

The alleged victim revealed that the first forms of contact, which included text messaging, took place while she was still enrolled at the high school. The defense attorney, Alain Hepner, has indicated plans to argue that the relationship “was not exploitative and that there existed no power imbalance in favor of the accused.”

Teacher Currently Unassigned

The Calgary Board of Education has confirmed that Selby is “unassigned from teaching duties and not actively at work at this time.” They declined to comment further, citing ongoing legal proceedings.

The Relationship Unfolds

Amy stated that she felt something “flirtatious” was happening between her and Selby, especially when he invited her to his “office” after her exams. The pair began texting, and Amy eventually visited Selby’s home, where she says intimate encounters began to take place. Throughout their relationship, they would meet up every few days and often smoke marijuana together.

Realizations and Subsequent Action

Amy’s perspective on the relationship changed when she discovered evidence suggesting she was not the only former student Selby had pursued. She began to feel uncomfortable about their dynamic and eventually decided to approach the police. “My concern was that when he told me he had no interest in students and I was the only person he’d ever pursued anything of a sexual nature with … yes, I believed it in the moment,” Amy said.

Public Reaction and Upcoming Proceedings

The case has stirred public discourse on the age of consent in Canada, which is 16, unless one party is in a position of trust or authority over the other. Defense lawyer Alain Hepner will have the opportunity to cross-examine Amy next week.

The trial continues, and its outcome will no doubt be scrutinized closely, both for its legal and ethical implications.