Despite the criminal charges he's facing, 56-year-old former teacher David Boyce says he has no regrets about having sex with a 16-year-old student. The pair are in love, says the Thompson man, and hope to marry someday.
His rationale mirrors that of many people charged with sex offences against minors. No crime here, just an unexpected meeting of hearts and souls.
The only difference? Boyce is remarkably frank about it all. Although he makes no secret of his relationship with his former student, Boyce must be considered innocent until proven otherwise in court.
When their three-month sexual relationship was revealed this spring and the girl questioned by police, Boyce resigned as drama teacher at R.D. Parker Collegiate. He was arrested and charged with sexually exploiting the girl. He was rearrested for breaching his bail conditions 10 days after his arrest when he had contact with the teen.
His next court appearance is May 18 in Thompson.
He's open about what he has done.
"There is no question there has been a sexual part of the relationship."
They knew what the fallout would be if they were caught.
"(The girl) and I had a great deal of discussion about the possibilities," Boyce says of the chance their relationship would be revealed. She immediately deleted their sexually charged texts; they both knew they could be recovered by police.
"None of this comes as a big surprise to us."
The high school student's name cannot be made public. The thrice-married Boyce has two children of his own. They are 25 and 27.
Boyce is not the first teacher or adult in authority to be charged with a sex crime against a young person. In March, a 46-year-old former Vernon, B.C., female teacher went on trial for having sex with a student. The boy was 12 when the assaults began. The same month, a Winnipeg female youth-care worker was sentenced to two years in prison for having sex with a pair of 14-year-old boys. In January, a teacher and coach at Fort Richmond Collegiate was charged with sexual exploitation of a minor.
For those of you who find it difficult to believe a boy can be sexually assaulted by a woman, the Criminal Code thinks otherwise. Canada's age of consent is 16. The exception is when the adult is in a position of trust or authority. The maximum sentence is 10 years in prison.
So, what would cause David Boyce to throw away his career and good name?
"I can tell you this," he said Wednesday in a telephone interview. "This is not something that was entered into suddenly as a lust kind of thing.
"I'm well aware of the age difference. We know the pitfalls that are to come."
He says her maturity and his immaturity reduce the age difference to "more like 20 years."
"We are waiting for all this legal stuff to get out of the way so we can get on with our lives."
He admits her parents are very upset about the relationship.
"She (the mother) is not very happy. She blames me for the entire thing."
Funny, the law does, too.
Boyce says the only remorse he feels is for the embarrassment he caused his former employer, the girl and her parents.
Thompson Citizen editor John Barker says the community is split in its reaction to the popular teacher and his affair with a minor.
"I think people are quite appreciative of what he did as a teacher," says Barker. "It's a northern town, it's a tough mining town... there's a segment of, 'What's the big deal?' We're not as politically correct up here."
Some people don't understand Boyce committed a crime by sleeping with his student, he says.
"They don't get into the nuances of a teacher as authority."
Boyce, who is now unemployed, says he'll happily wait until his former student graduates from high school so they can marry and move away from Thompson. She'll go to university. He'll find some kind of work. They've got it all worked out.
Except for the part where he possibly goes to jail for preying on a schoolgirl 40 years his junior. That bit's not as romantic as he believes the rest of their sordid tale to be.