A teacher has been struck off after receiving indecent images of children, engaging in conversations about child abuse and carrying out sexually motivated discussions online with children.
David Gideon, 67, who had taught law part-time at the Marches School in Oswestry, Shropshire, was found by the national professional conduct panel for teachers to have engaged in inappropriate electronic communications with and about children between 2010 and 2014.
The National College for Teaching and Leadership panel concluded that the discussions with children and “the serious nature of the images received, which were of an abhorrent sexual nature, were so inappropriate that it amounted to unacceptable professional conduct.”
The education secretary’s representative issued a prohibition order, as recommended by the panel, and decided that Mr Gideon would not be entitled to apply for restoration of his eligibility to teach.
The panel found Mr Gideon guilty of a number of allegations – which include:
- Receiving one or more indecent images of children between 2010 and 2014
- Engaging in discussion of sexual abuse of children online around December 2012 to February 2013
- Engaging in discussion of sexual abuse of children via Messenger around March 2011
- Engaging in discussion of sexual abuse of children with one individual, including a conversation about tying up and spanking the person's daughter, as well as engaging in sexual activity with the daughter
- Requesting that one or more children send him photographs of themselves around May 2013 via Skype and/or Yahoo Chat including an image of them wearing their schoolgirl uniform, an image of their bottom and an image of them wearing a bikini
Mr Gideon, who had his employment at the school terminated in 2014, denied the allegations.
'Calculated and deliberate'
However, the panel found the allegations were proven, and noted that he had the opportunity to report the indecent images and the discussion about child abuse to the relevant authorities but he did not.
In a statement, Mr Gideon said he had no sexual interest in children. But the panel – after considering the evidence of the email exchanges, and messages on Skype, Messenger and Yahoo chat over a number of years – found that his actions were likely to have been sexually motivated.
The panel concluded that – despite Mr Gideon’s behaviour taking place outside of the setting of the school – the findings of misconduct were “extremely serious” and the conduct would “have a negative impact on the individual’s status as a teacher, likely damaging the public perception.”
They found Mr Gideon’s actions to be “calculated, motivated and deliberate” and noted that no references were provided from any colleagues that could attest to his abilities as a teacher.
Additionally, the panel found that Mr Gideon “showed no insight into the severity of his actions” and sought to minimise the severity of his behaviour within his statement to the panel, describing it as “nothing more than internet chat”.