AN art and drama teacher who was rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted last year has been jailed for 10 years for a catalogue of sex crimes.
Thomas Boothe, aged 58, who worked at Newent Community School, from 1980 until his arrest, used his excellent teaching reputation as a ‘useful cover’ for his offending, Gloucester crown court was told.
His offences included using his role as organiser of a club for people with learning difficulties to sexually abuse a man with an IQ of only 44 who did not have the ability to consent to sex.
He also secretly filmed naked boys in changing rooms at the Barnwood fitness centre, in Gloucester, and Gloucester public baths and secretly filmed boys through their bedroom windows.
The court heard he made a graphic sex film with a consenting adult partner in a public toilet alongside the A417 Gloucester-Cirencester Road.
He also logged into a website and, disguised as a 15-year-old girl with a wig and shawl, filmed himself and boys as young as 13 carrying out sexual acts.
Boothe also collected child abuse images on computer devices including a school laptop.
Simon Burns, prosecuting, told the court: “He appears to have led a double life. Being a teacher has been a useful cover for effectively winning the trust of individuals, in particular the young man whom he abused and his family.
“The other side of his personality reveals someone with clearly sordid perversions.”
Boothe’s offending came to light when police were alerted he had been buying illegal sex DVDs from a company in Canada.
Toronto police alerted Gloucestershire police and Boothe’s home was raided in February last year. He had 27 DVDs in a box by his TV.
Boothe admitted 20 offences – two of outraging public decency, seven of taking indecent pictures, three of possessing indecent images, four of indecent assault on a man aged 26-28 who did not have mental capacity and four of sexual activity with the same person.
The offences began in 1994 and ended last year when he was arrested.
Judge Jamie Tabor QC jailed Boothe for a total of ten years and ordered him to sign the sex offender register for the rest of his life. He also made an indefinite sexual harm prevention order against Boothe.
The judge told Boothe: “You were trusted not only with care of those children attending school but also with voluntary agencies. As far as the school is concerned there is no evidence at all that you broke their trust but as far as the club is concerned you did.
“There was a dark side to your life which completely overshadowed the light you brought as a teacher.”
Judge Tabor said his abuse of the man with learning difficulties, whose mental age was as low as eight, ‘overshadowed’ the rest.
“The victim statement from his family describes a pitiful state of affairs,” he said.
“To what extent your activities have affected him no-one can tell but I am quite certain it did him harm, not good.”
Steve Young, defending, said Boothe knew he was going to prison for a long time.
But he said it was his duty to point out the positives from Boothe’s teaching career. He handed in a bundle of letters from ex pupils, teachers and a family members.
Mr Young pointed out that Oftsed had last year rated Boothe’s work as excellent and said he had enhanced the cultural awareness and spiritual development of pupils.
“It is a classic case of a man living two separate lives,” he said.
There had been ‘not a sniff’ of him abusing his position as a teacher at Newent school or offending against pupils, he added.
“He bitterly, bitterly regrets that the school has been brought into this. “
He added that Boothe, of Montgomery close, Hucclecote, Gloucester, had always hidden that he was gay and he had led a solitary life without any proper relationship.
Former teacher admits indecent offences against children
A former Gloucestershire teacher has admitted a number of indecent offences against children and sexual offences against a man with a mental disorder.
Thomas Boothe, 58, who taught at Newent Community School, pleaded guilty to 20 charges at Gloucester Crown Court.
The charges include seven of taking indecent images of boys in a public changing room.
Police said the offences took place between 1990 and 2014 and none related to anyone at the school.
Boothe, from Hucclecote, also admitted four counts of indecent assault and four of sexual activity on a person with a mental disorder, in relation to a man with a mental ages of 10 or 11, the court heard.
He pleaded guilty to two charges of outraging public decency after he committed acts in a public toilet, and to three counts of possession of indecent videos.
One other charge, to which he pleaded not guilty, will remain on file.
Boothe, who taught at Newent Community School until last year, is due to be sentenced in September after a pre-sentence report has been prepared.