Sex case teacher banned for life

A BOARDING school history teacher who was jailed last year after being caught groping a 16-year-old pupil has been banned for life from the profession.

James Mullen (25), of Kestrel Avenue in Thorpe Hesley, was working his first job as teacher at St Edmund’s College in Hertfordshire.

Last February, a colleague caught him “writhing” on a classroom floor with a girl — who cannot be named for legal reasons — kissing her and touching her chest through her clothing.

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He was jailed for eight months after admitting three counts of sexual activity with a child aged between 13 and 17, committed just five months after he started teaching.

Now a disciplinary panel of the National College of Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) has barred him from ever teaching again.

Mullen admitted kissing and showing “inappropriate attention” to the girl, for whom he said he had developed feelings, between February 14 and February 26, 2013.

Jailed in August 2013, he was ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register and made subject to a sexual offences prevention order for ten years each.

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NCTL panel chairman Luke Graham said the relationship had “crossed the appropriate boundaries of a student and teacher relationship”.

NCTL official Paul Heathcote added: “The panel have judged this to be a case of sexual misconduct that is serious enough to warrant prohibition with no review period.”

Mullen now cannot teach in any school, sixth form college, relevant youth accommodation or children’s home in England.

He has a right of appeal to the High Court.

The court hearing was told last year that Mullen, had only been at the school a few months and, on his arrival, had gone on a child protection course which he had passed with flying colours.

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He was instructed on what was appropriate behaviour when dealing with the youngsters and Sheffield Crown Court heard he had achieved a 100 per cent pass mark at the end.

But the 23-year-old formed a physical relationship with the girl, kissing her when they were alone together and exchanging text messages.

Messages found on the Mullen’s phone showed it was clear he knew that what he was doing was wrong, telling the girl: “Unfortunately, with me you are classified as vulnerable because I am your teacher.”

The court was told how Mullen had previously been spoken to over concerns about his behaviour around the school with pupils which included watching DVDs with them and sharing pizzas.