Paedophile teacher jailed for preying on boys in private music lessons

A music teacher is back behind bars for abusing two pupils at a private school.

Stephen Birch, 59, preyed on the young boys when he was alone with them at the school from when they were six and seven years old.

His first victim was touched inappropriately by Birch during private music lessons and when the teacher passed him in the corridor.

Creepy Birch targeted another pupil who was bullied and sat away from other children in a room on his own.

He told jurors: “I thought this was someone that actually cared about me.”

The teacher, already a convicted sex offender, denied the charges but was convicted at Glasgow Sheriff Court of using lewd and libidinous practices between December 1997 and February 2001

Giving evidence in the latest trial, one man now 27 who was abused, told the court: “He would often have his hand on my thigh as I was playing the piano.

The witness said Birch would also “grab and pat” him on the bottom before and after a lesson and when he passed him in the corridor.

A second 27-year-old told how he often sat away in a room from other pupils in the school.

He said Birch, who wasn’t his teacher, came in to see him on occasions to make sure he was okay and give him comfort.

The witness added: “I’m not sure how it came about, I remember being in various states of undress in front of the individual we have been speaking about.

“He would get me to take my clothes off.”

He said it happened “definitely more than once” and that Birch would “grope and fondle” parts of him.

Birch denied the allegations and was asked if the men were lying.

He said: “I’m saying that none of it is true.”

Passing sentence on Thursday, sheriff Martin Jones QC said: “You have been convicted by the jury of these two charges, both are serious.”

Birch blew a kiss to a woman in the public gallery as he was lead away to start his sentence.

The former teacher, from Maryhill, Glasgow was jailed for three years in 2012 at the High Court in Edinburgh after he admitted abusing a 13-year-old boy during a piano lesson at his house.

He pled guilty to carrying out the sexual assault in December 2011 and a charge of possessing indecent images of children.

He is already on the sex offenders’ register indefinitely.

November 2012

Music teacher jailed after sexual abuse of pupil, 13

A MUSIC teacher who sexually abused one of his pupils was branded a “danger to young boys” by a judge and jailed for three years.

Stephen Birch, 53, had a record for indecency offences and police found a collection of child pornography after he was arrested for the latest attack.

The victim, 13, had been unable to reveal to his family what had happened, but reported Birch to Childline.

Lord Bracadale told Birch, of Kennoway Drive, Partick, Glasgow, that he had been in a position of trust towards the teenager, whose family had left him on his own in the accused’s home for a piano lesson.

“You have previous convictions which involve young boys, and you also pleaded guilty to possession of indecent images of young boys. You are assessed as a high risk of reoffending and, clearly, you are something of a danger to young boys,” said Lord Bracadale at the High Court in Edinburgh.

Birch had not revealed his offending when he was given a teaching post at the Glasgow Steiner School in 1995. In 1983, he had been put on probation for indecent assaults on a ten-year-old boy, and in 1993 he was fined for lewd behaviour by luring two 12-year-old boys into his home on the pretence of giving them music lessons and then offering money in return for showing him their private parts.

He worked at the school until 2004, and then began giving piano lessons from his home. He also conducted the Glasgow Lyric Choir.

The latest offence was committed on 6 December last year. The teenager had finished his piano lesson and was sitting on a sofa when Birch sat beside him and molested him.

The confused youngster left the house and thought about phoning the police but changed his mind. At home, he called Childline and revealed what had happened. He gave permission for Childline to inform his mother. He tried to speak to her but became upset and could not continue.

Police went to Birch’s home and discovered around 330 indecent images of children on mobile phones and a DVD. Also, they found handwritten notes which “divulged in graphic detail, sexual feelings, fantasies and desires towards young boys.” Birch admitted he had made the notes but claimed he no longer felt that way.

Lord Bracadale was told that the teenager felt very angry towards Birch. He had trusted him and thought him to be a friend.

“He did nothing to invite the accused’s attentions but felt he was unable to stop the advances due to being shocked, embarrassed and the discomfort he felt. He has not spoken to his family about what happened to him,” said the advocate-depute, Shirley McKenna.

The defence solicitor-advocate, Tony McGlennan, said Birch accepted the assault had been a gross breach of trust.

“He was the child’s teacher. The child and his parents had every proper expectation their son would be looked after. (Birch) feels terrible for the betrayal and, for what it is worth, apologises. The boy was effectively rendered unable to resist by virtue of fear. It can be said on behalf of the accused that the incident could be described as brief, and did not contain force, coercion or threat,” added Mr McGlennan.