July 2016

Sex abuse victims urged to come forward after paedophile teacher jailed


Victims of sexual abuse have been urged to come forward after a paedophile teacher preyed on children online .

Michael Hart, 28, who worked as a primary school supply teacher in Liverpool, posed as a teenage girl to make young boys perform sex acts on webcam.

He also downloaded and shared hundreds of child sex abuse images, featuring boys as young as eight being seriously sexually assaulted.

Hart, of Utting Avenue East, Norris Green , was jailed for five years and four months after admitting a string of offences at Liverpool Crown Court.

Judge Brian Cummings, QC, questioned whether enquiries had been made at the Merseyside schools, and also summer camps in America, where Hart worked.

He said: “No-one hearing the facts of this case could fail to wonder about his motivation for becoming a primary school teacher and going to camps in America where he works with very young children. That’s the brutal reality of it.”

Detective Chief Inspector Mark Kameen, from Liverpool Protecting Vulnerable People Unit, said Hart carried out “appalling deceptions”.

He said: “I would strongly encourage anyone who has suffered in this way to contact police.

“Specially trained officers will be here to treat you with sensitivity and make sure that reports are properly and thoroughly investigated.

“The web offers a degree of anonymity to criminals intent on grooming young people, allowing them to pretend to be someone they are not and gain trust and build relationships with younger people in order to exploit them.

“These relationships may feel like genuine friendships for that child or teenager but they are clearly not.

“It is really important that we all become more aware of the possible risk of exploitation on social media and chat sites and how to report suspicious activity to the police.

“Every one of us has to play our part in putting a stop to the sexual exploitation of children.”

According to Hart’s LinkedIn profile, Hart went to Camp Pontiac in New York from 2007 to 2014.

He joined the supply teaching agency New Directions Education Ltd in November 2014.

The agency said no concerns were raised by any of the schools and his teaching evaluations were “good to excellent”.

A spokesman said: “We carry out massive clearance checks with List 99 and the DBS. There was obviously no fault on his record.

“We were informed by Merseyside CID on April 20, 2015 that he was being investigated.

“We carried out an immediate risk assessment. He was deemed as ‘high risk’ and he was suspended initially.

“We then held a disciplinary with our team and he was dismissed. On April 26 he was referred to the Disclosure and Barring Service.

“The schools have all been made aware.”