A now-fired Saskatoon teacher on trial for child luring says he believed a former student was over 18 years old when he sent him graphic sexual messages online.

Jayson Kennard, 40, took the stand at Saskatoon Court of Queen’s Bench Tuesday, breaking down in tears when he admitted to being sexually attracted to his former student from Dundonald School.

Kennard taught the student from grades six to eight and is accused of sending sexual messages to him about two years after the student left elementary school.

The student was 16 at the time of the alleged messages, but Kennard testified he thought the student was 18.

Kennard said during the pair’s correspondence he asked the student when he turned 18 and that the student told him “in a few weeks.” The teen denied that conversation and there are no records of it on Facebook. Kennard told court he deleted the messages because he feared his then-boyfriend would see them.

Kennard then sent messages initiating sexual acts. He asked the teen for a nude photo and to video chat while naked.

The Crown said it was Kennard’s responsibility to take necessary steps to know the true age of the person, and argued Kennard did not do that.

The defence disagreed, stating the former teacher didn’t send any sexually related messages until after he believed the student was 18 and that he did take steps to find out the student’s age. There were no specific representations on Facebook – the pair’s point of contact – indicating the boy was under 18, the defence argued.

Kennard was arrested at Dundonald School in 2013 after investigators posed as the teen online. He was charged and his teaching contract was terminated.

The teen’s mother contacted police after finding the Facebook messages.

A judge is scheduled to deliver his verdict in March.