Febuary 2005

Teacher jailed for sex with girls

A teacher has been jailed for 20 months for having sexual relationships with three of his female pupils.

David James, of The Hawthorns, Cardiff, had sex with two of the girls, both over 16, Cardiff Crown Court heard.

He sent all three naked pictures of himself from his webcam, and received semi-naked pictures from two of them.

James, 32, admitted six counts of abusing a position of trust and one of sexual activity with a child by a person in a position of trust.

Tom Crowther, prosecuting, told the court how James began his “inappropriate” conduct with three girls after his partner left him.

He added: “Each of the girls was musical and were involved in extra-curricular musical productions with James.

“But his interest went further than that and became sexual. He split up with a girlfriend and described himself as lonely

“But rather than face the indignities and uncertainties of meeting new people, he turned to a group of girls who regarded him with respect and affection.”

Mr Crowther added that James also followed one of the girls on a family trip abroad.

More than 80 images of the girls, including pictures and films, were later found on James’ computer, the court heard.

Mr Crowther said: “Perhaps inevitably, rumours went around the school and James was formally warned.

‘Destroyed career’

“There was nothing more than rumour upon which the school could have acted. But a police investigation was launched and James was arrested and charged.”

Michael Mather-Lees, defending James, said: “He has been frank in accepting that there was no excuse for getting into the situation. It has destroyed his life and his career.

“All three girls stated this was consensual and willing and they participated in this without force or any degree of coercion.

“It was madness, I can say no more. He will never be able to fulfil his chosen path again.”

Sentencing James, Judge Christopher Llewellyn-Jones told him: “It’s difficult to imagine a graver breach of trust than for a teacher to engage in sexual activity with those who are in their charge.

“It’s plain that each of these girls were over the age of consent and did consent to what happened.

“(But) the courts must make it plain that they will protect children in the care of others even if they are above the age of consent.”

As well as the 20-month prison term, James was ordered to register as a sex offender for 10 years and was banned from working with children for life.