January 2019

Dorset teacher groomed schoolgirl

A teacher who groomed a 15 year old scholgirl has been jailed and placed on the sex offenders’ register.

Dorset teacher Katherine Malyon, 28, engaged in sexual activity with the girl, then aged 15, sent her explicit messages and took her on days out, Bournemouth Crown Court was told.

The grooming began in 2017, when the girl confided in Malyon and sought support.

The grooming was noticed by others at the school, including its headteacher, said Rob Welling, prosecuting.

Mr Welling said Malyon had been trained in safeguarding requirements and knew the risks of relationships with pupils.

She was warned on several occasions by the school’s headteacher about having too much contact with the girl.

It was a ‘chance meeting’ at the school at the end of the academic year in 2017 that began the contact

Malyon kissed the girl and from there grooming continued, said Mr Welling. They contacted each other in secrecy; Malyon allowed the girl to visit her at her home and took her on a trip to London.

A court heard Malyon took the girl on day trips to an aquarium and a music festival and had sexual activity with her on her at least ten occasions.

Malyon was suspended in June last year after a photo of her kissing the girl was circulated around the school by another pupil.

In June 2018, the girl – then 16 – told her mum what had happened after a friend saw a photo of her and Malyon kissing on her laptop. The teacher was suspended and police became involved.

Mr Welling said: “This was a very clear abuse of trust. [Malyon] was very aware of [the pupil’s] vulnerability.”

When questioned by police, Malyon said she loved the girl and believed they would marry, the court heard.

Judge Brian Forster QC said the pupil was a vulnerable girl who confided about serious matters and ‘understandably, needed support from staff at the school.’

He said Malyon was fully aware of the girl’s vulnerability, and while she initially gave appropriate support, she then ‘crossed a clear boundary and developed a sexual interest in the pupil.’

He said concern from the headteacher made it clear Malyon should not meet the girl and ‘clearly stated the measure was to protect both of you.’

“Despite this, you met the girl and pursued a relationship with her,” he said.

Judge Forster said Malyon’s was an unusual case, saying she was ‘a high-achiever’ who comes from a family where members have dedicated themselves to teaching. Not, he said, ‘someone you would expect to behave in this manner.’

He told her: “You have lost your career as a result of your own actions and I have no hesitation in accepting you bitterly regret what has taken place.

“Anyone in a position of trust, such as a teacher, is expected to honour that trust. That involves protecting your pupils.”

He said by ‘crossing the clearest of boundaries’ and allowing a relationship to develop, Malyon had betrayed the trust of the pupil, parents and the community.

Malyon was sentenced to two years and four months for engaging in sexual activity with a child and 16 months, to run concurrently, for two counts of sexual activity of a person aged under 18 while in a position of trust. She admitted the offences.

She was also put on the sex offenders’ register for 10 years, given a restraining order for 10 years and made subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order.