Abuse or love? Jailing of lesbian re-opens debate

25th September 2009 at 01:00
Music teacher's 15-month sentence for consensual relationship with pupil divides opinion

Broadsheets and tabloids alike could hardly contain their excitement when 26-year-old music teacher Helen Goddard was found guilty of conducting a lesbian relationship with a 15-year-old pupil.

The teacher, a former child music prodigy, admitted six sample counts of sexual activity with the girl between February and July this year after her flat was raided in the summer.

Sentencing Ms Goddard to 15 months in jail, Judge Anthony Pitts said: "This is a difficult case. The evidence showed you were having a full-on sexual relationship with the girl for many months.

"She has made it clear that the sexual contact between you was consensual and she says in her statement that in fact it was instigated by her.

"It is, of course, against the law to engage in sexual activity with a person under 16, even with her consent. These are serious offences in their own right. But the particularly aggravating feature evident here of course is that you were her music teacher throughout this period and from well before the sexual relationship started."

Further controversy was sparked when Judge Pitts refused to place an injunction on the pair seeing each other after Goddard's release, a decision which opens up the possibility of the affair continuing.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now