Rotherham teacher jailed for relationship with pupil

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A boarding school teacher - who passed a child protection course with flying colours - was caught in a passionate embrace with a 16 year old female pupil, a court heard.

The pair were spotted by another teacher ‘writhing’ on the floor of the school music room at the end of a parent-teacher evening, St Alban’s Crown Court was told.

Sally Mealing-McLeod, prosecuting, said history teacher James Mullen, aged 23, from Rotherham, had only been at the school a few months.

It was his first job out of university and, on arrival he’d been sent on a child protection course and achieved a 100 per cent pass mark.

The court heard Mullen ‘groomed’ the girl, kissed her when they were alone together and they exchanged text messages.

He admitted three charges of sexual activity with a child while in a position of trust.

Mullen, of Kestral Avenue, Thorpe Hesley, Rotherham, was jailed for eight months and banned from working with children.

Miss Mealing-McLeod said he was caught in a passionate embrace with the teen on February 26.

Police were called to the school and Mullen was arrested.

The girl told police the relationship began on Valentine’s Day and there had been a consensual sexual relationship between her and the defendant.

She said on February 14 they shared a ‘passionate kiss’ and there had been another, again in the music room.

On the night of the parents evening Mullen had told the girl he loved her and she told him she loved him too.

They had planned to keep their relationship a secret until she left school.

The prosecutor said text messages on Mullen’s phone indicated he knew what he was doing was wrong.

When the girl asked him “Is this law breaking? How much trouble could we get into?” he texted back: “Unfortunately, with me you are classified as vulnerable because I am your teacher.”

The court heard he’d been spoken to about his behaviour with pupils, which included watching DVDs and sharing pizzas.

Andrew Kerry defending said “Clearly this is a breach of trust relationship. We have a very immature young man who has not seen the line with a 16 year old girl.”

“Perhaps the biggest punishment is his loss of his chosen career.”

Judge Streven Gullick said he’d crossed the boundaries, adding: “It was a gross breach of trust.”

Mullen was told he will be on the sex offenders register for 10 years and was he banned from working with children.