November 2013

Predatory Paedophile teacher sentenced to second jail term for abusing more girls

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A once trusted former teacher who was unmasked as a paedophile is beginning his second jail term for carrying out sex assaults on young girls in his care.

Joseph Kinnear, described in court as “a wolf in sheep’s clothing” who deceived families and school workers in Northumberland, has been sentenced to four years and one month after a jury found him guilty of nine sex assaults on schoolgirls between 1979 and 1982.

It is the second time a jury has convicted the 59-year-old former Rothbury Middle School PE teacher of indecent assaults after Kinnear was handed a seven-year jail term for 13 sex offences over the same period in 2007.

Newcastle Crown Court heard yesterday Kinnear, of East Newtown Cottages in Morpeth, left his victims mentally scarred and unable to form healthy adult relationships, and yet he remains “in denial”, continuing to claim that his numerous victims are “mistaken” or telling “a pack of lies”.

During his trial last month, the court heard Kinnear, then in his 20s, played ‘kissing games’ with young girls and groomed them with private notes and “incremental touching” which started on the wrist so he could “see how far he could take it”.

Prosecutor Michael Hodson said Kinnear manipulated girls and abused them at a school, in his car and at one of the girls’ homes. He also took children abroad, ran gym clubs, ski clubs, soccer clubs and youth clubs and developed close relationships with some girls.

Kinnear admitted that he gave girls ‘birthday kisses’ in front of the class but told the jury he didn’t believe this was inappropriate and that girls had been given the option of having a “peck on the lips” for their birthday. He denied any kisses took place in private.

He convinced girls, one of whom was just 12 at the time, they were “boyfriend and girlfriend” and won the trust of family and friends.

The court heard the teacher began kissing some of the girls in private and carried out depraved sexual abuse.

Mr Hodson added Kinnear’s callous denials of the charges meant his victims had to testify in court.

He said: “Due to the fact that the defendant refuses to accept responsibility for what he did to [one victim] as a child, he forced her to come to court and relive what he did to her.

“She has said it was the most difficult and painful event of her life.”

He said another victim “lost a great deal of self respect”, that she was in fear during the abuse and the trial had brought up the ordeal she had gone through at the hands of Kinnear as a schoolgirl.

“He charmed teachers, governors and his home community in Rothbury with the flamboyance and flair of what everybody thought was an exceptional man and exceptional teacher,” Mr Hodson had told the jury.

“But all the while underneath he had this flaw, behaving in a way that used the opportunities that he had to get closer and closer to girls, whilst at the same time being able to seduce parents and governors into believing he could do absolutely no wrong.”

Judge Simon Hickey said the Rothbury community remains “divided” over the ex-teacher despite him now having a total of 22 convictions for historic sex offences. He added that he had been passed testimonials which said Kinnear was a talented and committed teacher.

On sentencing him to four years, two of which Kinnear will serve on licence, the judge said: “It is the sad truth that when you were young and a gifted and enthusiastic PE teacher you abused those gifts and used your talents to exploit young children; children in your care and in my judgement that abuse is a gross breach of trust.”

October 2013

Already convicted paedophile teacher found guilty of another nine assaults on children

A teacher who has already served a jail term for sex offences against children is facing more years behind bars after being convicted of a string of indecent assaults against girls.

Former Rothbury Middle School teacher Joseph Kinner, who was previously jailed for over seven years for offences against children, denied the latest allegations and claimed his victims – who were abused between 1975 and 1982 – were telling a “pack of lies.”

But after more than six hours of deliberations, the jury of three men and nine women unanimously returned three guilty and five not guilty verdicts, and majority guilty verdicts on four more counts, to add to their two earlier guilty verdicts last Friday.

Judge Simon Hickey told Kinnear he now faces further prison time when he is sentenced on November 8.

“You have been convicted of serious offences of indecency against what were very young girls, albeit some time ago,” he said.

“The sentence that follows must be prison.”

Kinnear, 59, of East Newtown Cottages in Morpeth, Northumberland, had pleaded not guilty to all 14 charges he faced at his trial at Newcastle Crown Court.

He told the court his alleged victims were either “mistaken” or telling a “pack of lies.” He said: “I’m not a wolf in sheep’s clothing. I’m not a wolf of any description.”

But prosecutor Michael Hodson told the jury Kinnear had manipulated girls and abused them at a school, in his car and at one of the girls’ homes.

“He charmed teachers, governors and his home community in Rothbury with the flamboyance and flair of what everybody thought was an exceptional man and exceptional teacher,” Mr Hodson said.

“But all the while underneath he had this flaw, behaving in a way that used the opportunities that he had to get closer and closer to girls, whilst at the same time being able to seduce parents and governors into believing he could do absolutely no wrong.”

The jury also heard that the defendant took children abroad, ran gym clubs, ski clubs, soccer clubs and youth clubs and developed close relationships with some girls.

Kinnear admitted that he would give young girls a ‘birthday kiss’ in front of the class.

It was alleged, however, that Kinnear gave other kisses behind closed doors and when he pulled over into secluded spots when he took young girls home.

He told the jury girls in his class were given the option of whether they wanted a “peck on the lips” for their birthday and he didn’t believe it was inappropriate.

He denied any of the kisses took place in his car or in private at the school.

Kinnear was initially jailed for nine years in 2007 after being found guilty of 13 charges of indent assault against three children between 1979 and 1982. The sentence was later reduced to seven years after the Court of Appeal judged the sentence too severe.

He was released from jail in 2010, leading to criticism from one of his victims.

September 2010

Paedophile Joseph Kinnear gets early release from jail

ONE victim of a teacher who was jailed for a string of sex attacks against pupils last night spoke of her devastation at his early release.

Joseph Kinnear, who lives near Rothbury in Northumberland, was found guilty in 2006 of 13 charges of indecent assaults on girls as young as nine.

In a series of assaults, he targeted girls who were pupils at schools in north Northumberland and Hexham, where he taught in the 1970s and 1980s.

The former geography and PE teacher was given nine years in jail the following February and placed on the Sex Offenders Register for life

However, his jail term was later cut to seven years by three judges at London’s Court of Appeal.

Now Kinnear has been released from jail. Having completed just over half his sentence, he was allowed to apply for early release and, at the first opportunity, convinced a parole board he could safely be freed, subject to the conditions of a licence.

He will be supervised by officers from Northumbria Probation Trust, working with Northumbria Police.

The Journal understands the former teacher is not allowed to contact his victims or to go into the centre of Rothbury, due to the imposition of an exclusion zone to “protect the public and victims of the original offence”

Kinnear also had to agree his address with authorities. On Friday, he was back at his home at Newtown, where his family lives. Mr Kinnear told The Journal he was “pleased” to have returned.

Victims of the sex attacker still live in Northumberland and at the weekend one revealed she was “devastated” and “very shocked” by Kinnear’s early release.

The Journal has been told some people in Rothbury are angry that he seemingly plans to live again at the family home, so close to the village. Kinnear’s sordid past emerged when one of his victims telephoned the headteacher of her old school and asked whether he still taught there.

When told he did, she made the allegations against him.