January 2006

CHILD SEX MAN TAUGHT AT SCHOOL

A CONVICTED paedophile taught at Lorton Primary School, it has been revealed.

Andrew Raw, 33, was a supply teacher at Lorton for at least a term in 1997, the school has confirmed, but said there were no problems with him.

Raw, who then became a special constable, was sentenced to two-and-a-half years’ imprisonment at Carlisle Crown Court last week.

He was convicted on charges of indecently assaulting a young boy and of downloading child abuse images. The victim of the assault charges was molested twice, the court was told.

The first time was when the child was 10 and the second time two years later – in 1997, the same year he was at Lorton School.

Chairwoman of the Lorton Board of Governors, Helen Humphreys, said Raw was at the school just before she arrived in the area, so she had no personal contact.

She said: “From what I understand he was here on a fixed contract – on a supply basis – for one term. He came and he went. We had no problems with him.”

But a mother whose son was taught by Raw said she believed he had been there twice, once as a relief teacher and once as a trainee.

The woman, who did not want to be named, said she was shocked to hear of the former teacher’s dark secret.

She said: “He was a really good teacher. The kids loved him. He used to do things like leaving football cards on their seats for them to find. He really cared about them.”

She recalled that Raw had also been instrumental in setting up the school’s IT system and made a valuable contribution during his short time at Lorton.

While he was at Lorton, he wanted to take a group of children on to the fells during the summer holidays, she said.

The woman added: “We said no, but only because we thought our son, then nine, was too young and too immature for a trip like that.

“Otherwise we would have had no hesitation in sending him.”

Raw gained his teaching qualification after studying for a degree at Sunderland University.

After his term at Lorton School, he went to a Carlisle school as a temporary teacher, where he spent one year.

Cumbria County Council said there was no suggestion Raw had abused children in his care as a teacher.

“We have looked at his file and there are no disciplinary matters on it,” a spokesman said.

He added that the council was as sure as it could be that no paedophiles had been given special dispensations to work as teachers in Cumbria.

Raw, of Cromwell Court, Penrith, became a full-time police officer in August 2002.

He was working in Whitehaven when he was suspended and then sacked last December after admitting the sex offences.

The court was told that Raw had downloaded 8,000 child pornography images onto his home computer. The pictures included 120 classified as falling into the most sickening category of abuse.

Justice Barbara Forrester put Raw on the Sex Offenders Register and banned him from ever working with children. The court was told that Raw knew what he was doing was wrong but had developed an addiction to child pornography.