Teacher charged with 22 child sex offences
THE council is asking groups to donate to a mother at the centre of an alleged teacher child abuse scandal - as the accused man faces 18 further charges.
The 50-year-old man, who the Mercury revealed has been accused of filming himself abusing youngsters in his classroom, has now been charged with a total of 22 crimes relating to the abuse of children.
The individual, who the Mercury cannot name for legal reasons, appeared in court for the second time in two months to face 18 new accusations, which include 13 counts of sexual assault against a child, four of voyeurism and one count of possessing indecent images of children.
The teacher had previously been charged in December with two counts of sexually assaulting a child and two of abusing a position of trust.
He has yet to enter a plea to any of the charges.
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In the meantime North Somerset Council’s educational psychology department has sent a letter to two fund-raising groups asking for financial support for the family of the young girl who made the original allegation.
Educational psychologist Norman Donovan said: “Her mother has been off work since the day after the disclosure to support her daughter and because of her own understandable emotions.
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“She is facing financial hardship, which is unnecessarily adding to her stress.”
“I appreciate this is an unusual request because of the need for such strict confidentiality, but it would make an enormous difference to this family if a grant of, say, �500 could be made to cover some outstanding bills.”
The letter said the mother was likely to lose at least one month’s income following the initial disclosure by her daughter. At least one group has rejected the request, calling it ‘secretive’, with members voting unanimously against giving the cash.
The teacher was arrested after the seven-year-old told her parents he had been touching her inappropriately in class and the charges now relate to five children in total.
The Mercury cannot name the school, also for legal reasons, and allegations include that the teacher filmed himself abusing a child while in the classroom.
Thirty officers assigned to the case – declared a ‘major incident’ by police – searched his home, computer and classroom following the initial phone call. They confiscated 20 memory sticks, and previous prosecutor Kelly Marshall revealed one of them contained video footage of a man, which police believe is the teacher, touching a youngster inappropriately during class. Experts believe the footage was filmed from underneath a school desk, with other pupils present.
The man denied all allegations when interviewed by police, but has yet to enter a formal court plea. He will appear at Bristol Crown Court next week.