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The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Head of John Howard Society in Manitoba found not guilty of sex assault on girl

WINNIPEG - The executive director of the Manitoba John Howard Society has been cleared of sexually abusing a young girl.

A judge acquitted John Hutton after Hutton told a Winnipeg court that allegations against him by a girl who is now 12 weren't true.

The girl testified on Thursday that Hutton touched her inappropriately over a period of more than three years.

Hutton was charged with sexual assault, sexual interference and sexual exploitation.

He testified that the accusations came out of nowhere.

Hutton had been placed on paid leave from his position with the John Howard Society, which is an advocacy group offering programs and services for male criminal offenders.

“It was shocking and completely took me by surprise," he said Friday of the accusations. "I had just not an inkling it would happen and it was very difficult.”

He said he's relieved "to have this come to an end and I can now start looking forward to getting back to work and moving forward.”

(CJOB)

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