"Lawyer Alan Richter said that while the verdict was welcome, it doesn’t change anything the Jansens had to go through.
“The trauma she’s suffered is immense and can’t be overstated; the horror of this type of allegation is immeasurable,” he said. “Being found not guilty doesn’t turn back the clock 14 months. It doesn’t give Miss Jansen and her family their life back.”
Richter also decried the “woefully inadequate” investigation by Durham Region Police officer Amanda Rabishaw that led to the charge, noting that simply interviewing other teachers and staff would have made clear the extent of the child’s behavioural challenges, which included regular violent outbursts that necessitated a class evacuation plan and included a two-person aide team be assigned to them.
“The idea that my client, or frankly anybody, would be alone with the student is ludicrous; there was always two sets of eyes on this student,” Richter continued. “This is not a one-off incident, and it takes away from the legitimate complaints. This complainant was a liar, but unfortunately the same brush will be cast on other complainants, and that’s why police have an obligation to investigate thoroughly.”
“We went to a parade last weekend and when my three-year-old saw the police she started crying saying they were going to take mommy away,” Ken recalled, noting the impact has been similar on the rest of the couple’s five children.
“We’re really, really having a difficult time with how this was allowed to happen,” Ken said, noting the victim had assaulted Ashley in the past and made multiple threats to other staff members while being restrained during violent outbursts, saying that they would “tell someone you touched me.”
“It’s inhumane what they were allowed to do. My wife’s life is destroyed, our family’s life is destroyed,” he continued, noting both Ashley’s former union and the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board not only did not provide any assistance throughout the ordeal, but several school staff members testified that they were specifically instructed by superiors not to speak to police on the matter.
“I’m afraid for other EAs, truly afraid, because my wife was completely unprotected, not just from the physical assaults — the punching, the kicking, the getting spit on, which happened all the time — but from allegations like this,” Ken said. “We need accountability; we need to sit across the table and ask how this was allowed to happen and how can we prevent it from happening again?”
Ken credits a Durham investigator hired by the family for bringing the truth to light by conducting an investigation he believes should have been completed by police, including talking to staff, visiting the location of the allegations and more.
“The information he sought wasn’t hidden; it was all in my statements,” Ashley said of the investigation, noting she’s still coming to terms with the verdict and what it means for the family’s future.
“The only relief I have is that I feel safe; I feel like can tell my kids every day that I’m going to be home tomorrow. I couldn’t do that two weeks ago. But other than that, I can’t think past this week, I can’t even think past today,” she said. “This will forever change who I am. It’s like a puzzle; we’re trying to put the pieces back together, but there will always be some missing.”
"On Nov. 24, an Oshawa judge found her not guilty after believing her every word. But not even that can undo the damage she’s suffered. “Everything I had ever known and worked for was taken away,” Jansen says.
"Imagine the Children’s Aid Society coming to your door in September 2022 to tell you the police are investigating you and you can no longer be trusted alone with your five kids. Jansen had no clue what it was about until Durham Regional Police called her in three weeks later and immediately charged her with having intercourse with a student on the last day of class in 2018 — while the Clarington school was in session."
And with that, the nightmare began.
Durham police put out a news release asking for more victims to come forward. Friends as far as Alberta and Nova Scotia called in shock about her inconceivable arrest. Social media was flooded with vile comments by people now calling her a monster.
The former educational assistant was fired from the dream job she’d started as an alternative-care worker. Her husband Ken worried she was suicidal. “Ashley’s life was completely destroyed,” he says.
The case was flawed from the start, insists her lawyer Alan Richter, with virtually no investigation done by Const. Amanda Rabishaw. The boy’s story changed three times, but police never questioned the discrepancies and even the most basic of details weren’t checked. “She basically didn’t care enough to do a good job,” he alleges.
There were red flags all over the case.
Ontario Court Justice Peter Tetley called them “inherent inconsistencies” in the boy’s account that shifted with each re-telling of his claim. Then there was his telling police that Jansen had locked the door so they could have sex — but the officer never went to the school. If she had, Richter says, she would have seen there was no lock on that door.
She also hadn’t bothered to speak to any of Jansen’s co-workers. Called to testify by the defence, the boy’s Grade 6 teacher and two educational assistants said this troubled kid had a history of violence and mental-health issues. Jansen had even been a victim of one of his punches to her face. “We all knew never to be alone with this student,” she says.
The judge accepted that the student’s frequent violent outbursts meant it was unsafe for anyone to be alone with him — something he faulted the school board for not disclosing when Jansen was arrested — and that he was considered “untrustworthy, impulsive, unpredictable, manipulative and deceitful and had a penchant for blaming others for his own shortcomings.”
In fact, Tetley found the only way the student was able to attend class at all was due to Jansen and her colleagues’ “skillful interventions.”
But most telling, though, was a report from Jansen’s doctor, which proved she suffers from a medical condition that would have made it impossible to have had intercourse in the way the student described.
It was disgraceful what happened to this innocent woman. Even the judge called out the poor police investigation.
The unusual allegations being made in this case — sexual assault during school hours — “might reasonably have been expected to call for a careful, impartial and comprehensive investigative response with a view to independently confirm aspects of the allegation,” Tetley said.
“Unfortunately, that did not occur despite the foreseeable consequences of this complaint.”
As thankful as they are that the judge saw the truth, it’s not enough they’re considering legal action. “This doesn’t feel like justice,” says her husband. “To us, justice is when the people who allowed this to happen are held accountable.”
Google her name and news about her sex assault charges overwhelm a few headlines about her acquittal. Who will ever hire her again, she asks. “Nobody cares what happens after. My life is forever changed.”
This story can’t set it all right. But hopefully it’s a start.
"A 36-year-old former education assistant was found not guilty of sexual assault and sexual interference in a Oshawa court on Friday November 24, 2023. But unlike the media attention when press release by Durham Regional Police was issued, there was no media to hear the verdict by Justice Peter Tetly.
Only Jansen, her husband Ken, close family and friends along with Crown attorney Agapi Mavirdis and Jensen’s lawyer Alan Richter.
When the press release was first issued, Jansen’s name was plastered everywhere. Radio, social media and television.
But on the forth floor, in the small courtroom 407, Justice Tetly stated, “the defendant shall be found not guilty.” Then came the applause and tears from Jansen’s family. But what about life after facing such a serious offence.
Jansen was charged on September 2022 with two very serious offenses for anyone. Worse if you’re a teacher or in Jansen’s position. The charged stemmed from an allegation that occurred in 2018. “Members of the Special Victims Unit started an investigation after a victim came forward,” stated the release. No “alleged victim” in the press release, the word “victim” is clearly stated. Police went further to state investigators wanted to ensure there were no other “victims.” The release stated that Jansen was an employee of the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board from 2010 to 2021, but was no longer employed by the school board.
Summing up the past 14-months Jansen said she’s tried to protect herself and her family from the verbal abuse they would all face at times. Whether her children were in school, or she and her family were in the community. “We’ve gone through everything you could possibly go through. How do you come back from it?”
Richter sums it up by saying “survivors of false allegations are everywhere. My experience with them, they are quite eager to have something done, up until the point they get acquitted and then they are just thankful that it’s over with. And they go back to try and rebuild their lives, just like Ashley did. There is a lot of survivors of false allegations out there. There voices are quiet, because they are singular.”
“I frankly would love to see a grouping of those voices – a real concerted effort being made to put those false allegations together, to put those survivors of this traumatic experience together. People need to take a minute and think what it would be like if somebody falsely accused you of committing a horrendous sexual assault.”
“How would your life be? Because whatever you think it’s going to be – it’s not as bad as it really, really is. And it needs to stop. Real victims of sex assault need to be addressed, needs to be assisted, prosecution, investigations needs to be done and wrongdoers need to be brought to justice, but we can’t do it at the expense of the innocent.”
"Ashley Jansen, a former teacher’s aide from Durham Region, is speaking out and calling for accountability after a judge ruled that a former student falsely accused her of sexual assault.
The allegations cost Jansen her job and spurred a Children’s Aid Society (CAS) probe that temporarily prohibited her from being alone with her own children.
Jansen was arrested by Durham Regional Police in September 2022 and charged with sexual assault and sexual interference after a student came forward about an alleged incident that occurred at a Durham Region elementary school in 2018.
“Everything I knew was taken from me,” Jansen told Global News.
“I had to prove I wasn’t this person that now the media and the police had portrayed me to be.”
But Jansen’s life was turned upside down prior to her arrest, when she said CAS showed up at her door and requested that she sign a document stating that said she couldn’t be alone with her children.
“We had to hire a private investigator; we had to hire a lawyer. And I had to sit in silence attached to one of the most horrible things you could ever think of.”
While Jansen was acquitted of the charges in November 2023, she says the acquittal “doesn’t change much.”
“We’ve had this discussion at home many times. While the acquittal is great in the eyes of the law, it changes nothing, because my name was all over the news.”
“People assume that if there’s an arrest and the police are involved, there has to be credible information,” she said.
When it came to the Court’s decision, Ontario Court Justice Peter Tetley wrote that “this judgement serves as a cautionary example as to the fact an injustice can occur when appropriate and available investigative steps are not pursued."
In his decision, the judge also referred to the complainant’s mental health at the time, and said he had a history of “violence, falsehood… and behavioural disturbance.”
“The story at the face of it seems unreasonable. And then with the variations that the young person told, as Justice Tetley rightly said, it warranted more thorough investigation, and that never happened,” said Alan Richter, Jansen’s lawyer.
Richter says the police service needs to have a review of its sexual assault unit and special victim’s unit, “so this sort of thing doesn’t happen again.”
Ken Jansen, Ashley’s husband, told Global News this all could have been prevented “had people done their job.”
Now that Jansen has been acquitted, the couple is pushing for accountability.
"A cold case murder spanning over four decades. A friendship born of a love of fishing soon turns sinister. An infamous police tactic. Woven together from first hand accounts and expert interviews, family archives, and rare access to key participants, this documentary series is a winding tale that explores the unrelenting enigma of a search for justice."