St Albans teacher in court over claims of indecency during PE classes

A ST Albans PE teacher has gone on trial, accused of indecently touching young female pupils at his school.

The 40-year-old man, who was a department head as well as a form tutor, is said to have touched the girls during swimming sessions and rugby lessons.

He has gone on trial at St Albans Court Crown Court after pleading not guilty to 11 offences of sexual activity with a child while in a position of trust.

The six alleged victims are said to have been aged from 12 into their early teens and the charges cover a period from 2010 to 2011.

Prosecutor Mary Loram said: “He is a good teacher, liked and respected by teachers and pupils alike. He is married.”

However, she went on: “It also seems there is another side to him because this trial is about abuse of younger girls who were at the school.”

Miss Loram also said it was not the prosecution’s case that the abuse was of the most serious kind and that it was quick touching of the youngsters in the area of their breasts and between their legs.

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The jury heard that the defendant took swimming lessons for the pupils and there would be an element of horseplay where he chased girls and tickled them.

The prosecutor said it was then that he would take the opportunity to touch the girls.

It was claimed that one girl had been indecently touched as the teacher jokingly threw her into the pool.

It is also alleged that a year eight pupil was touched indecently by the teacher after she had gone into an equipment store near the pool.

Another girl had her bottom pinched, the jury heard.

The teacher is also said to have touched the breasts of a girl on the rugby field while teaching how to tackle.

Miss Loran described the teacher’s actions as “opportunistic groping” and the sort an older, more mature woman might have even been able to laugh off. But she went on: “They are not adults, they are children.”

The court heard how matters came to light after one of the girls spoke to her mother, who immediately went to the school.

When word got out, other pupils were said to have come forward.

The jury was told that the defendant was not newly qualified but experienced and “knew the rules” as a head of department.

Miss Loram said in 2009 he had been told by the school: “Do not get in the pool with pupils, do not behave like this.”

She added “Yet, he carried on.”

The trial continues.