11/26/2012 03:38 EST | Updated 01/26/2013 05:12 EST

Teacher sex assault allegations unproven, rules B.C. judge

A B.C. provincial court judge has acquitted a substitute teacher of sexual assault.

Several elementary school students in Coquitlam claimed Aleksandr Plehanov touched them inappropriately while acting as a teacher on call.

But in a decision handed down Monday, the judge found the allegations unproven.

Five children testified about sitting on Plehanov's lap, claiming he touched or rubbed them inappropriately.

In handing down his verdict, the judge said he had no doubt the children did their best to give evidence, and in at least two cases he believed the kids did sit on Plehanov's lap.

The judge said Plehanov clearly either ignored or was completely ignorant of professional boundaries between children and teachers, but said the level of activity didn't rise to what was needed to approve a criminal charge.