One-year ban for car-park flasher

23rd October 2009 at 01:00
Teacher suspended after indecent exposure incident earns police caution

A teacher who was also a church youth worker has been suspended from teaching for a year after he admitted indecent exposure.

Harsha Yoganathan was cautioned by Surrey Police after exposing himself to a 42-year-old woman in a public car park in February 2007.

Mr Yoganathan resigned immediately from a supply teaching job, told his family and vicar and sought help from his doctor, the General Teaching Council for England (GTC) said in a ruling this week.

He then underwent six therapy sessions with a psychologist to analyse the "function" of his exhibitionism and to seek ways in which to change his behaviour, a professional conduct committee found.

Mr Yoganathan's case was referred to the Department for Children, Schools and Families to consider whether he should be permanently barred from teaching.

But after Mr Yoganathan had been assessed by a psychotherapist, Ed Balls, the Schools Secretary, decided that no further action was needed to restrict his work with children.

Doctors noted that Mr Yoganathan, who taught in a number of Surrey schools, had been open and honest in his discussions with them and said that they were impressed by his efforts to change his behaviour and lifestyle.

"We have read supportive testimonials from the vicar and a doctor at his church since the offence was committed," the ruling said.

"They speak positively about the steps he has taken to rehabilitate himself."

But the GTC said the offence was too serious for him to be allowed to return immediately to the classroom.

"This is conduct that falls significantly short of the standards of propriety expected of a registered teacher and brings the reputation and standing of the profession into serious disrepute," the GTC said.

"We note, too, that Mr Yoganathan accepts that his behaviour amounts to unacceptable professional conduct.

"We consider Mr Yoganathan's conduct of exposing himself in public to be serious and to be highly damaging to the reputation of the teaching profession."

The GTC judgment said that careful thought had been given to whether Mr Yoganathan should be suspended or struck off.

A major factor was whether he was likely to reoffend, the GTC said. It was satisfied the risk was "not significant".

Mr Yoganathan told the committee that he has no plans to re-register as a teacher after he has served his 12-month suspension.

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