TICKER: 40-year-old teaching assistant who flashed a 13-year old on webcam and had sex with him jailed for three years

Mother-of-one Rachel Peters, 40, who had been an assistant at the school for 17 years and had a daughter younger than the boy, was said to have committed a “gross breach of trust” by a judge at Doncaster Crown Court.

Kath Goddard, prosecuting, said Peters had even been given a warning by the school the previous year over her inappropriate conduct with another older pupil “while not sexual showed her naivety.”

Peters was a respected member of staff at the Doncaster area school and taught younger staff the responsibilities of teaching assistants which included them being barred from having any contact with pupils outside school.

Her affair with the 13-year-old boy came to light following a school trip when the boy was overheard speaking in a “sexualised” way and when questioned by a member of staff admitted having sex with “somebody called Rachel.”

The matter was reported and the school called in the police in September, 2010.

When video-interviewed the boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said he had heard Peters talking to other pupils about being on Facebook and the MSNB messaging service and asked if he could join her Facebook.

She at first declined but they then began exchanging emails and would communicate by MSN frequently late at night. “It involved discussion of sexual matters,” said Miss Goddard.

One night Peters removed the upper part of her dressing gown to expose her breasts to the boy over her computer webcam.

A few days later she picked up the boy from school and “made it clear she wanted to have sexual intercourse with him”, said Miss Goaddard.

She drove him to a rural area and performed consensual oral sex on him in the family car.

But the car was too small for full sex so Peters got out of the car and took the boy to a nearby field where they had sexual intercourse.

They continued to send messages of a sexual nature over the internet and had further meetings outside school in the evenings.

The boy told police it was he who ended the relationship.

Miss Goddard said: “He was becoming worried by the relationship and by the defendant’s talk of the two of them running away together. He was only 13, nearly 14 at the time.”

When arrested Peters maintained she had not had sex with the boy and was trying to help him because he was being bullied at school which the police found to be untrue.

She claimed he had threatened her when she had sought to discipline him for a minor infringement at school.

She maintained there was no inappropriate contact between the pair but officers found records of calls and texts and “a large number of messages and chat conversations on her computer” with the boy and another boy aged 17.

Peters was due to stand trial on ten offences of inciting the boy to engage in sexual activity and engaging in sexual activity in his presence in June this year.

But after a jury had been sworn in, Peters changed her plea to three of the offences and the jury was ordered to formally return guilty verdicts on those three charges.

The jury was discharged from delivering verdicts on the other seven offences with which she was charged and they will lie on file.

Peters, of Edlington, Doncaster was convicted of one offence of engaging in sexual activity in the presence of the boy to gain sexual gratification by exposing her breasts to the 13-year-old.

She was also convicted of two offences of causing or inciting the boy to engage in sexual activity involving oral and vaginal penetration of her with his penis.

All the offences took place between January 1, 2010 and September 21 that year.

Steven Crossley, defending, said Peters had spared the boy the ordeal of having to give evidence in court albeit her guilty pleas coming on the day of the trial.

He said she had expressed “genuine contrition and remorse” and now recognised that her conduct had been entirely inappropriate.

She had not used co-ercion or threats and it was the boy who first tried to contact her. In the past she had suffered a history of abusive relationships.

Mr Crossley said: “The author of a psychiatric report says as a consequence of her experiences she sought a relationship with someone much younger who was therefore a great deal less likely to inflict the levels of physical abuse she had suffered in the past.”

If jailed she would be separated from her 13-year-old daughter which for her “was worse than anything else that could follow in this case.”

Judge Jacqueline Davies said Peters had conversations on a regular basis with the boy and she even told him incorrectly that her former partner was terminally ill.

Reports had shown she was a serious risk to young children, particularly young males and her behaviour was manipulative.

“These offences are extremely serious,” said the judge. “The most serious offences are the ones involving acts of penetration.”

She was not new to the teaching profession and had been warned about her conduct the year before.

Judge Davies said: “In the face of that warning you decided he was a boy you had particular responsibility for and you developed a relationship by conversations leading to these serious acts for your own sexual gratification.”

Peters was jailed for a total of three years and three month. She was put on the Sex Offenders register and made subject to a Sexual Offences Prevention order. It is also likely she will barred from working with children.

UK Telegraph

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