Whitehorne acquitted on sex charges involving teen

Gary Kean
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Lloyd Whitehorne, seen here during his trial in September 2012, was acquitted of sexual assault and sexual interference in provincial court in Corner Brook on Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012.

CORNER BROOK — Lloyd Whitehorne, an elementary school teacher from Port aux Basques, has been found not guilty of two sex offences alleged to have taken place with a 13-year-old girl.

In her decision brought down in provincial court in Corner Brook Tuesday morning, Judge Catherine Allen-Westby said she believed the 41-year-old man did have inappropriate email and text message exchanges with the young girl in 2009 and had failed to do anything to discourage her from continuing their conversations.

However, Allen-Westby said the inconsistencies in the girl’s statements to police and her subsequent testimony at Whitehorne’s trial in early September cast a reasonable doubt about whether any inappropriate physical contact had taken place when the two were together.

The allegations against Whitehorne were that the two would arrange meetings during which they kissed and that Whitehorne had touched her sexually.

Whitehorne took the stand in his own defence and denied having ever touched the girl in a sexual manner. He did acknowledge that he had communication with her, but did not agree that he had sent or received all of the digital communications presented as evidence before the court.

In one of the communications Whitehorne acknowledged that he received, the girl said she was looking forward to “kissing (Whitehorne) all over.”

Crown attorney Mike Fox did ask Whitehorne why he never informed the girl’s family about any inappropriate conversations they may have had. Whitehorne said that he wanted to first ask the girl herself what she had meant by them.

The girl had been confronted by her mother after some of the messages were discovered in 2009, but the girl denied anything physical had happened. It wasn’t until 17 months after the discovery of the messages that the girl disclosed that there had been a physical relationship with Whitehorne.

Defence counsel Rosellen Sullivan argued that it had not been proven who exactly had been using the computer Whitehorne was alleged to have used when the questionable messages were communicated. She also said the credibility of the girl must be viewed cautiously by the court since she did deceive those closest to her for 17 months about the nature of the alleged relationship.

There were also inconsistencies, said Sullivan, about the number of physical encounters and the nature of the physical contact the girl alleged took place.

“I am unable to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that Lloyd Whitehorne committed the two offences with which he is charged ... In assessing the credibility of the complainant, I found that her behaviour prior to the charges being laid causes me to question the veracity of her evidence,” decided Allen-Westby.

The judge’s analysis of the case did touch on the inappropriateness of the communication between Whitehorne and the girl and that there may have been times when they were alone together.

“I am not convinced that a sexual assault took place during those encounters,” said Allen-Westby. “Although I believe that the accused indulged in inappropriate communication with the complainant and did nothing to discourage what the court believes to have been her infatuation with him, I am unable to conclude that a criminal offence occurred here.”

Geographic location: CORNER BROOK, Port aux Basques

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Recent comments

  • B. Chateau
    October 11, 2012 - 07:25

    First of all, let it be known that I do not in the community. Mr. Whitehorne is innocent...he was cleared!!! ENOUGH SAID. Allen-Westby was the judge here & nobody knows what happened in that courtroom other than those involved. Since this was a minor, I AM 100% certain that Allen-Westby would not dismiss the charges & find Mr. Whitehorne NOT-GUILTY unless it were VERY apparent that this was nothing more than an infatuation. Shame on this young girl. What goes around, comes around! I hope Mr. Whitehorne gets the support he needs/deserves from the community & school board. It sounds as if he is missed in the classroom.

  • rworried
    October 11, 2012 - 06:48

    The justice system in NL is a joke, this could never happen anywhere else, I wouldn't be letting my children anywhere near him.

  • Lynn Wiggs
    October 10, 2012 - 11:18

    Although this elementary school teacher was not found guilty of criminal charges, does the fact that he had inappropriate sexual conversations with this under-aged young girl mean nothing??? Personally, I don't care if the child was infatuated with him or not, he was the adult, and an adult that is educated and deals with young children on a daily basis, yet he carried on this electronic, if not physical, relationship with this child. And that's what a 13 or 14 year old is, a child!!! My question is doesn't this matter. Will this gentleman, and I use the term loosely, be allowed back in the classroom with more young children, so that he can once again have opportunity to do this to another young child/children? Shouldn't the school board and the parents at that school have some issues with this?? I certainly would.

    • Lloyd Whitehorne Supporter
      October 10, 2012 - 19:36

      As a parent of two children who go to the school where Mr. Whitehorne teaches I can honestly say I have absolutely no issue with him being allowed back into the classroom .In case you didn't understand the article , he was found not guilty!! Do you mean to tell me that if you were accused of a crime and found not guilty that you should still be denied the right to practice in a profession that you love, a profession that you're devoted too ?? Just because you were accused???That would be unfair and unjust by any standards .. I have lived in this community and saw how much respect, and support the people have offered to Mr.Whitehorne and his family and I've heard so many people who believed in his innocence.. Maybe if you actually knew him you wouldn't be so quick to judge .. Just think about it this way : Imagine how you would feel if that were your husband who was accused of this crime and then proven not guilty only to have someone challenge his right to be back in the classroom???? I think I speak for a lot of the parents in this community when I say : I would welcome Mr. Whitehorne back whole-heartedly and wouldn't have an issue with him teaching either one of my children ..