October 2011

Religious studies teacher banned from the classroom after she sent sex texts to schoolboy

A religious studies teacher who sent a schoolboy sexually explicit text messages has avoided jail. But Kathryn Roach, 24, was banned from working with children for life after a court heard she sent a string of messages while working at a school in Bolton.

Roach, a newly qualified teacher, sent more than 200 texts to the youngster and told him she wanted him to ‘touch her’, a court heard. Bolton Crown Court heard the teacher began flirting with the student after she cheated on her partner with another man.

The defendant was on half term at a school in Bolton in March 2010 when she texted the boy from a holiday in Italy. After the scandal it emerged the boy did not reach his target GCSEs.

Judge Stephen Everett said he had to send out a message to the ‘small minority of rotten apples in the teaching profession’ that they could face jail for similar behaviour. Roach, of Park View Road, Croxteth, Liverpool, received six months custody – suspended for two years.

She had earlier plead guilty to one count of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity by a person in a position of trust. She was also banned from working with children for life and must sign a sex offenders’ register. The court heard how the boy texted her first but the contact was not sexual in nature.

They went on to exchange 395 texts, 205 from Roach to him and 190 from the boy to the teacher. Rumours spread through the school about the pair and Roach sent the boy a final text pleading him to deny what had happened. The teenager at first denied the allegations but when confronted by the school’s head teacher, he admitted what had happened.

Mary McKeone, defending, told the court her client was deeply ashamed and sorry for what she had done and had sought help from a Catholic priest after reaffirming her faith. Judge Everett said he could suspend the custodial sentence but branded the sobbing defendant a “selfish and hypocritical individual”.

He added: “What a great shame that a teenager should have his childhood so badly affected. This boy was growing up and should have simply been allowed to enjoy his childhood and not been pressured into some sort of sexual contact with an adult.

“On the one hand you professed to be strongly religious and based in the Catholic faith and were a teacher of religious education to children which will undoubtedly involve looking at how one goes forward in life in a proper way.

“On the other hand you are someone who has had a long standing relationship with a man who to his credit stood by you who was about to become engaged whilst you were having an affair with someone behind his back.”