K.T. was in a common-law relationship with the mother when the girl alleged that he came into her room one night and put his hand down her pyjama pants.
During her testimony at the criminal trial, the girl admitted she was rebellious, did not get along with her mother and wanted to live with her father.
The girl testified she was taking anti-depressants, used marijuana and Ecstasy and had previously accused a boy of touching her inappropriately.
A week before the alleged incident, the girl met with her social worker and was told she could leave her mother's home if there were allegations of sexual or physical abuse, the court heard.
After making the allegations the girl was removed from her mother's home and went to live with her father.
Justice Mary Teresa Devlin acquitted K.T. on Oct. 25 in provincial court in Oshawa and found there were "credibility" issues with the testimony of the girl.
The complainant is a "troubled child," said defence lawyer Leora Shemesh. "She came up with a story and it snowballed. This incident never happened," Ms. Shemesh stressed.
During trial, the Durham Regional Police officer who investigated the allegation admitted she did not follow up with a friend of the girl who suggested she was lying, because the friend was a "defence" witness.
"It is very difficult to defend yourself against these types of charges," said Ms. Shemesh, because the authorities are often not inclined to believe a young girl would lie.
The Durham Children's Aid Society told K.T. last fall he had been placed on the provincial child abuse registry, which can be accessed by child protection agencies in Ontario and other jurisdictions.
"All I got was a letter in the mail. Nobody came to see me," he said.
While on bail, K.T. was permitted to leave his home to go to work, but he was unemployed for several months, in part because of the nature of the criminal charges he faced.
He is no longer involved with the mother of the girl and is in a relationship with another woman. Recently he was hired by a landscaping company, but he said that the charges have exacted a financial and emotional toll on his life.
"I just don't know what's going to happen next," he said.
Wanda Secord, executive director of the Durham CAS, said its policy is to conduct an independent investigation to "verify" an allegation before someone is placed on the child abuse registry.
To try to have his name removed from the abuse registry, K.T. must make a formal request to the provincial Ministry of Community and Social Services."It is a legal process," explained Ms. Secord.
If the agency does not agree that his name should be removed, then K.T. could ask for a hearing, where an independent lawyer would be retained to decide whether he should remain on the abuse registry.
© National Post 2007