Teacher who sexually assaulted boys spared jail in Dunfermline
A TEACHER who sexually assaulted two boys in his class the day he arrived at the school avoided jail yesterday after a sheriff said the public would be safer if he was not sent to prison.
Stephen Tait, 29, touched the six- and seven-year-old boys in his primary three class at their school in Fife, which cannot be named for legal reasons.
Dunfermline Sheriff Court heard the supply teacher claim he touched the boys by “accident” but he was found guilty of sexually assaulting both pupils.
It emerged yesterday in a background report read by Sheriff Colin McClory that Tait is to stand trial on child-porn allegations later this year.
Sheriff McClory said there had been a “grotesque breach of trust” by Tait but said the only way the court could keep the public safe from him was not to send him to jail.
He ordered Tait to carry out 250 hours of unpaid work, and be under supervision for three years. He was put on the sex offenders’ register for three years and banned from leaving his house between 7pm and 7am for nine months.
The mother of one of the boys stormed out of the courtroom in tears as the sentence was read out, and claimed the punishment was “a joke”.
Sheriff McClory, who described the boys as “compelling witnesses”, explained why he thought it best not to send Tait to prison. He said: “There is quite a disturbing background to this case. He seems to be in complete denial about what happened, and I see a pending matter in relation to child pornography.
“You won’t work in a school again. You sexually interfered with these young boys and it is a grotesque breach of trust.
“However I think custody can be avoided, but only just. Within a few months of a prison sentence he would be liberated and essentially be unsupervised in the community. For public safety, the court needs to be able to keep track of him.”
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Saturday 25 May 2013
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