Child pornography teachers struck off

29th July 2005 at 01:00
Elizabeth Buie Four of the six teachers removed from the General Teaching Council for Scotland's register last week had previously been convicted of child pornography charges.

William Fraser, former depute headteacher of Portlethen Academy in Aberdeenshire, had been found by police with 3,210 indecent images of children on his home computer. Fraser was put on probation for two years and ordered to carry out 140 hours of community service in February.

Sheriff Alexander Jessop, who heard the case at Aberdeen sheriff court, said the images were at the lower end of the scale in relation to the offence. However, children's campaigners hit out at the sentence, saying that every single downloaded image of a child was an image of a child being abused.

Campbell Morrison, a teacher at Hallglen Primary in Falkirk, admitted downloading child pornography on his home computer. Police were alerted by the school's headteacher after she caught Morrison printing off copies of photographs he had taken of pupils at the school, although no charges were made in relation to these photographs. He was given three years' probation in December last year.

George Lappin, a former PE teacher at Port Glasgow High, was convicted of possessing pornographic images of children in photographs and on video.

Lappin pled guilty and was fined pound;450 at Paisley sheriff court two years ago.

Howard Findlay, a former teacher at Broughton High School, Edinburgh, was fined pound;1,500 at Edinburgh sheriff court in November last year after he was convicted of possession of indecent photographs on his laptop computer.

James Parker, former principal teacher of chemistry at Gryffe High in Houston, Renfrewshire, had admitted charges of disorderly conduct after he secretly photographed girls wearing miniskirts at Gryffe High, Castlehead High in Paisley, Paisley Grammar and Hutcheson's Grammar in Glasgow, in 2003.

Parker was caught after he took two rolls of film to a supermarket to be developed and staff noticed the girls had been photographed from behind, suggesting they had not given their consent. Four weeks later, using a false name, he delivered another two spools of film which were also found to contain "alarming subject-matter".

Parker told Paisley sheriff court that he just wanted to persuade colleagues that there was nothing wrong with girls wearing revealing outfits because they were just being fashionable.

The only female teacher to be struck off last week was Leanne Russell, aged 28, who had admitted a month-long affair with a 16-year-old pupil. The IT teacher at Hermitage Academy in Helensburgh was fined pound;750 at Greenock sheriff court after she admitted having sexual activity other than sexual intercourse with the pupil in 2003.

Russell had already been placed on the sex offenders register.

The GTC is considering moves to make disciplinary proceedings more open and transparent, providing details on its website of the offences for which a teacher has been removed from the register.

A spokesman said: "We are still discussing with our legal advisers and the GTCS council the way forward on this issue. We are committed to being an open and accountable organisation."

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