Porn addict drilled holes to spy on woman showering

25th February 2011 at 00:00
Failure to disclose police probe in job application earns six-month suspension

A teacher addicted to pornography, who was also investigated by the police after drilling spy holes in his bathroom wall so he could watch a woman showering, has been suspended from the General Teaching Council for England (GTC) register for six months.

Philip Isom - who was fired by Cranbrook College in Essex after the police investigation - was taken to the GTC because he had failed to disclose the incidents when he applied for a new job at Furtherwick Park School, also in Essex.

The case dates back to 2007, when Mr Isom was head of maths at Cranbrook. He had revealed his addiction to pornography, which caused the breakdown of his first marriage, to social workers when he and his second wife were trying to adopt a child.

A GTC panel heard that police officers searched his home and found more than 100,000 graphic images on his computer. He was not charged with any offence.

At the time, Mr Isom also admitted to having had sex with an 11-year-old girl when he was 14, and that he had drilled the spy holes in his shower room wall to observe a female adult guest in 1999.

Following these revelations he was suspended from Cranbrook, and told school leaders he was receiving counselling for his pornography addiction. He was finally dismissed by the school in 2008 due to a "breakdown in trust and confidence".

In 2009 he attended an interview at Furtherwick Park School, but he did not reveal the reasons for his dismissal from Cranbrook. He claimed he had left to become a self-employed tutor, but that this had not gone well and he wanted to return to a school to take advantage of the teachers' pension scheme.

Mr Isom told the school he had not used the head of Cranbrook College as a referee because the head was "new to the school" and "did not really know him". Staff at Furtherwick investigated, found out why he had been sacked and were told by Cranbrook that it would not recommend him to work with children.

Officials at Redbridge Council referred Mr Isom's case to the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) in October 2009, which then referred it to the GTC.

A GTC disciplinary panel found Mr Isom guilty of deliberately providing misleading information about his reasons for leaving Cranbrook College. He also failed to declare the reasons for his dismissal when he registered with the GTC in November 2009, answering "no" to the question: "Is there any other information the council should know about which may have a bearing upon your suitability to register?"

"He has brought the reputation and standing of the profession into serious disrepute," said GTC panel chair Rosalind Burford.

"In deliberately misleading a prospective employer and in making a false declaration to his professional body, Mr Isom displayed a lack of the integrity expected of a member of the teaching profession."

Mr Isom's two adult children and a former colleague were character witnesses at his GTC hearing. He apologised for his actions and said he had only wanted to "get back into teaching". He told the panel he felt that children were "suffering" as a result of him not being able to teach.

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