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Banned: Assistant principal created an ‘upskirt’ image of a schoolgirl

Teacher Stephen Hepworth denied having a sexual motive but has been banned for life

banned

An assistant principal who created an indecent image of a schoolgirl has been banned from teaching for life after being found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct by the Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA).

Stephen Hepworth, 46, “has been responsible for serious sexual misconduct,” stated the TRA's professional conduct panel in a report which was published today.

“He manipulated and modified an innocent image that he possessed and turned it into something indecent for the purpose of sexual gratification,” it added.

Mr Hepworth, who worked at the Archbishop Lanfranc Academy, Croydon, when the incident took place in December 2015, had a photograph of two schoolgirls from Shirley High School, Croydon, where he had worked between September 2009 and December 2014.

Mr Hepworth had been caught in the act by two pupils who filmed him on their mobile phones, while he was “creating a magnified 'upskirt' image of the upper inner thigh and genital area of one of his female former pupils while using a school computer”.

The report said the teacher admitted his actions but had denied they were sexually motivated. The panel took a different view. “Mr Hepworth has been found guilty of using a school computer during working hours for actions motivated by the pursuance of sexual gratification,” the report stated.


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“The panel watched two videos created on pupils' mobile phones, Mr Hepworth accessing an image of two female former pupils sitting on a table on a school computer. One of the girls was wearing a skirt that was set well above the knee line. He then proceeds to zoom in on the part of the image that shows the pupil's upper thigh and genital area.”

It said: “He did not act accordingly for a few seconds but rather for at least two minutes during which time he stared at the image and repeatedly magnified or cropped the image. He explains the behaviour as 'playing around' or 'thoughtlessness' when in fact it is clear to the panel that there cannot have been no motive other than a sexual motive for his actions.”

Mr Hepworth has “a previously good history”, according to the report. But it said: “The panel took particular account of Mr Hepworth's limited insight into his behaviour. The panel cannot, in such circumstances, ignore the possibility of risk of repeat behaviour.”

Dawn Dandy, who made the final decision on behalf of the education secretary, backed the panel’s recommendation that Mr Hepworth be banned from teaching indefinitely.

She added: “In view of the seriousness of the allegations found proved against him, I have decided that Mr Hepworth shall not be entitled to apply for restoration of his eligibility to teach.”

 

 

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