July 2017

Telford teacher sentenced over relationship with pupil

A teacher who had a relationship with a pupil directly after she had sat her GCSEs has been given a suspended sentence.

Former English teacher Ian Mooney was given 12 months suspended for two years after pleading guilty to a charge of abuse of trust.

But Judge Jim Tindal said the case was not a typical one as Mooney had always been clear about what had happened but contended that there was no sexual activity until after the girl had effectively ceased to be a pupil.

The court heard the girl was still officially a pupil until the end of July and therefore Mooney was officially in a position of trust, even if he was no longer actually teaching her.

Mooney, 47, of Ladycroft Close, Shrewsbury, taught at the now defunct Wrockwardine Wood secondary school in Telford.

The relationship, which happened in the early 2000s, was short lived, and they pair remained friends on social media afterwards. It was only in 2013 that she decided to contact police having become increasingly uncomfortable about what had happened, the court heard.

Harpreet Sandhu, prosecuting, said Mooney and the girl began sending text messages back and forth while he was still teaching her in the run up to her taking her GCSEs.

“Over the course of a week or so they began to get more frequent,” he said and it culminated in them meeting up at a pub in Shrewsbury after which she went back to his house.

However, the relationship did not become sexual until later.

Lee Masters, defending, said Mooney had genuine remorse about the relationship and took full responsibility for it.

“He fully accepts that it was a totally inappropriate relationship and he shouldn’t have done it.”

He said he fully accepted that his teaching career was over and had left the profession a while ago following a breakdown brought on by stress. Before that he had been judged to be a good and successful teacher, he said.

Judge Tindal said while the relationships might have seemed normal or reasonable to the girl at the time, “perhaps because of a change of culture in a post-Saville world, she has come to see the relationship as wrong”.

He added: “She has thought about what has happened and understandably came to feel exploited and used.”

He told Mooney: “You allowed what was doubtless a teenage crush to develop.”

But, he said, there was no suggestion Mooney had done anything like it before or since and he did not believe he posed a risk to anyone else.

He ordered Mooney to carry out 300 hours unpaid work and pay £1,000 costs, and said he would have to be on the sex offenders register for 10 years.

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