Thursday, October 29, 2009

Teacher, 46, at top Catholic school jailed over secret affair with 17-year-old girl student

Teacher, 46, at top Catholic school jailed over secret affair with 17-year-old girl student
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 3:56 PM on 28th October 2009

Dr Terence Anthony Bell arrives at Blackburn Magistrates court today
A teacher at a top Catholic public school was jailed today after confessing to a secret relationship with a 17-year-old female student.
Married father-of-three Terence Bell, 46, kissed, cuddled and fondled the pupil during the seven-month tryst at the private £22,000 a year, Stonyhurst College in Clitheroe, Lancashire.
But he was caught last month by another pupil in a classroom with the girl sat astride him and his shirt unbuttoned, Blackburn Magistrates' Court heard.
Bell, head of English at the prestigious college and 29 years older than his victim, later confessed to police: 'The game's up isn't it? Love is a powerful thing.'
District Judge Peter Ward jailed Bell for 20 weeks, saying parents expected their children not to be taken advantage of while at school.
Philippa White, prosecuting, told the court: 'The behaviour came to light late one evening...when a 16-year-old student was in the school and saw a light on in an English classroom and went to investigate.
'When entering the classroom he saw a female student, aged 17, appeared to be sat astride an English teacher, this defendant.
'His shirt was unbuttoned half way down and he was not wearing his usual spectacles.
'The female student removed herself and walked away towards the corner of the classroom.'
The male student 'excused himself' and was left 'distressed' and went to tell staff who called in police, said Mrs White.

The girl denied any inappropriate behaviour and said the situation had been 'misconstrued', added the prosecutor.

But Mr White said Bell admitted the relationship, telling officers: 'The game's up isn't it? Love is a powerful thing.'
Mrs White added: 'He had fallen deeply in love with her and she felt the same way.
'There had been kissing and cuddling and he had fondled her breasts under her clothes and buttocks on top of her clothes.'
Bell later admitted going to see the girl during the school holidays and buying a separate mobile phone so they could keep in touch in secret.
He had been forced to resign from Stockport Grammar School, Cheshire, in 1993 after he wrote to a 5th form female pupil, 'expressing his feelings of love'.
He was a hard working and well-liked teacher and began working at Stonyhurst after being given a second chance - but started at the school when its admissions policy did not allow female pupils, the court heard.
He rose from an English teacher to head of the department after working at the college, first founded in 1539 by Jesuits, for more than 15 years.
Bell, whose address on court papers was given as Shanklin on the Isle of Wight, told the court he was now estranged from his wife and homeless.
He admitted one count of being in a position of trust, intentionally caused or incited a girl of 17 to engage in sexual activity.
Simon Farnsworth, mitigating, said in any other other setting a relationship with a girl over 16 would not be illegal, but as he was her teacher it amounted to a breach of trust.
Enlarge Terence Bell had a secret tryst with a 17-year-old pupil at Stonyhurst College in Clitheroe, Lancashire
'He accepts he's entirely to blame,' he added.
'This has cost him to lose his home, family, job and career, forever.
'He is effectively a broken man. He's got nothing much left in his life.'
Bell was jailed for 20 weeks, ordered to sign the Sex Offenders Register for seven years and barred from working with children for an unspecified period.
Passing sentence District Judge Peter Ward said the offence carried on for seven months, there had been 'considerable planning and evasion' and he had abused his position of trust.
'You have admitted being in a relationship with a 17-year-old pupil when you were a senior English master at the school,' he told Bell, who kept his head bowed throughout proceedings.
'If any pupil makes approaches to a teacher the duty of a teacher is to actively discourage that approach and stop it happening.
'If a 17-year-old girl has some, or shows some affection for a teacher, that teacher has not got to take advantage of this because 17-year-old pupils need protecting from themselves at times.
'I think one has to consider the expectation of parents when sending their children to school, that they will not be taken advantage of.'
A spokesman for Stonyhurst College said: 'Following the sentencing of former employee Dr Terry Bell, Stonyhurst has now referred the matter to the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) after consulting with the Local Authority Designated Officer for Allegations.
'The college will continue to cooperate with the authorities on this matter.

'Stonyhurst believes in the paramount importance of the safety and well being of young people.'

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