Updated: Primary school teacher jailed for filming pupils as they changed for swimming (From York Press)
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Updated: Primary school teacher jailed for filming pupils as they changed for swimming
A PRIMARY school teacher who repeatedly filmed pupils as they changed for swimming has been jailed for a year.
Christopher Gibbons, 26, abused the trust placed him in by the children he taught and supervised, their parents and that of society in general, Judge Neil Clark told York Crown Court.
He heard how over a six-month period Gibbons took images of children he supervised during swimming sessions until a nine-year-old girl saw his iPhone being held under the door of the cubicle where she was changing and told her mother.
Police later found images of two women he knew that he had filmed without their knowledge as they showered separately in a private house.
He was an infant class teacher at a primary school in York.
Gibbons, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to one charge of taking an indecent picture of a child and three of voyeurism.
In additon to the year-long jail term, he was put on the sex offenders’ register for ten years, made subject to a sexual offences prevention order indefintely – controlling his use of the internet and electronic items that can take pictures – and banned from ever working with children again.
His barrister, Andrew Stranex,. said he had lost his career and his job, but had helped the police to uncover all his crimes.
Detective Sergeant Jackie Smart, of York Protecting Vulnerable Persons Unit, said: “Christopher Gibbons has completely abused an important position of trust and thankfully he will no longer be able to work with children again.
“Parents must be able to rely on adults whose children are put in their care. Gibbons has proved that he cannot be relied on or indeed trusted with such responsibilities and his career is in ruins.
“In cases such as this North Yorkshire Police works closely with City of York Council and City of York Safeguarding Children Board to protect the welfare of children who may be affected.
“Hopefully Gibbons’ sentence will reassure parents that the local authorities will take appropriate action in cases such as these and offenders will be prosecuted.”
Joe Cocker, manager of City of York Safeguarding Children’s Board, said: “Christopher Gibbons betrayed the trust of the children in his care, their parents and his profession.
“The City of York Safeguarding Children’s Board and City of York Council take any safeguarding allegations extremely seriously and work closely with North Yorkshire Police to ensure that the perpetrators are prosecuted."
He said Gibbons was arrested and suspended as soon as concerns about his behaviour came to light and he thanked all involved in bringing the case to court.
He added: “The result of this, and other high-profile local and national cases, is that people feel more confident in coming forward with their concerns.
“City of York Safeguarding Children Board is committed to protecting children and young people from abuse or exploitation and will continue to ensure that children across the city are able to grow up in an arena of safety.”
The Press wins bids to name offenders
CHRISTOPHER Gibbons can be named today because The Press successfully challenged a banning order obtained by City of York Council.
Since August 5, when Gibbons admitted his crimes, the media has been forbidden from naming him.
It is the third time in six months the council has sought or obtained a court order preventing the media naming sex offenders who have committed offences against children while working for it.
The Press has successfully challenged each order, citing legal guidance on when anonymity should be granted. The council says it has acted to protect the victims and will continue its policy.
In April, Simon Charles Herd, 48, admitted two charges of voyeurism of children he met through his work for the council and 14 of possessing indecent photographs of children.
After he pleaded guilty, the council sought an order banning his identification but magistrates ruled against it. Herd, of Southampton, was later jailed for a year.
By then, teacher Richard Oldham, 31, latterly of Holsworthy in Devon, had appeared before magistrates charged with voyeurism of pupils as they changed for swimming and sexually abusing children during ordinary classes. But he was not publicly identified until May 10, when The Press successfully opposed the council’s bid to maintain his anonymity. He later admitted 23 sex offences.
Eoin Rush, assistant director, children’s specialist services for the council, said: “Our only motivation in cases of this nature is to protect the identity of the victim(s) and ensure that those affected can be made aware of what is happening in an appropriate manner, not through reading about it in the media.
“We will always adopt this approach as it is in the best interests of children and young people in York.”