A COURT heard today how a teacher who admitted having sex with a teenage pupil had been abused when she was a teenager.
Eppie Sprung Dawson, 27, escaped a custodial sentence at Dumfries Sheriff Court where she was appearing for sentence after pleading guilty to having sex with in the front seat of her car with a 17-year-old pupil last December.
But she will have to return to court on July 10 to find out what counselling and help is available through social work services and to give her a chance to attend psycho-sexual counselling. And Sheriff George Jamison said it was likely that she would be made the subject of a community payback order but it had not reached that stage at present.
Sheriff Jamieson told her that but for her being a teacher, she would not be facing a charge because the pupil would have been the age of consent. He told her that she had breached a position of trust and said: “You were there simply to teach but you gave into temptation”
The Sheriff added: “What you have been charged with is breach of trust and I cannot see that there is anything to be gained by a custodial sentence.”
He said that Dawson of Pleasance Avenue, Dumfries, had been charged with abuse of trust but it was a breach of trust and he added that she had not abused anyone.
“Had it not been the fact that you were this young man’s teacher, there would have been no criminality. You were there simply to teach but you have been called into temptation and you have committed adultery, your marriage is gone, and your career as a teacher is gone.”
“No doubt you were a competent teacher,” he said and added that he would see no point in sending her to prison simply because of public interest.
Earlier this year Dawson admitted that on December 21 last year, while she was in a position of trust and being the teacher of the youth, she engaged in sexual activities with or directed towards a person under the age of 18 and that she had sexual intercourse with him.
The Court heard earlier that she had picked up the pupil in Dumfries, drove to a secluded layby on the Cummertrees to Hoddam Road, and had sex in the front seat of her car.
Police had noticed the car and as they approached they saw condensation on the windows of the car. When they approached the parked car they saw the couple having sexual intercourse. The police officers knocked on the car door and then saw the accused and a male, both naked from the waist down.”
Dawson’s agent David Finnie said that she had been abused when she was between 13 and 18 by a man 29 years her senior and although it didn’t provide in any way, an excuse for this, it provided some explanation as to the background.
He said: “This case is about one incident and there was a complete lack of any malice on the part of Eppie Sprung Dawson. There was no intention to cause any harm or difficulties or problems to the other party.
“What we are dealing with is an incident involving a woman of 26 and a teenager who is now seventeen and a half. There are a number of factors in this case with a limited nature of the libel. It was one incident, on one occasion and we are not dealing with a more extended period of abuse.”
Mr Finnie described Sprung Dawson as a gifted, talented and committed teacher who was dedicated to her job. He added: “She has all the facets that are required to make a first class teacher and she has thrown all that away.
He said that the chances of her finding herself in such a position again must be very limited indeed and he appealed to the Sheriff not to impose custody. He said: “She has been punished already with her career wrecked, her marriage wrecked. I would suggest that this is not a case appropriate to make an example of her and it is not necessary to impose a custodial sentence.”