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.
• Music teacher Stephen Birch jailed for three years after sexually assaulting pupil and being found in possession of child pornography
• The boy reported Birch to Childline but had been unable to tell his parents
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.