Radio Sandwell News

Child porn teacher cleared to work in schools

2013-06-06 05:45:39

Geoffrey Bettley

A religious education teacher sacked for possessing indecent images of children should be allowed to return to work in schools, a panel has ruled.

Geoffrey Bettley, 36, was suspended from a West Yorkshire school in December 2010 after police found nearly 200 child abuse images on his computer.

He accepted a police caution and was dismissed by the school.

A professional conduct panel has now ruled the teacher does not "represent a risk to children or young people".

In its judgement, the National College of Teaching and Leadership panel said the images viewed by Mr Bettley were "not at the most serious end" of the scale used to categorise the severity of images of child sex abuse.

His behaviour did not show a "deep-seated attitude which leads to harmful behaviour", it ruled.

Sex offenders register

Mr Bettley was employed as an RE teacher at St Mary's Catholic School in Menston, from September 2001 to December 2011.

He visited a website in March 2009 where he viewed six child abuse images, according to the panel's ruling.

When his computer was seized by the police in December 2010, 143 images were found at level one, which covers nudity and/or erotic posing.

A further 46 images considered to be at level three on the scale were found but had not been opened, the panel said.

He was cautioned for the offence of possessing an indecent photograph or pseudo-photograph of a child and placed on the sex offenders register for two years, according to the ruling.

A report from Leeds Children and Young Peoples Social Care in September 2011 had also concluded that Mr Bettley posed little risk, the panel added.

A Department for Education spokeswoman said: "We keep the process under review because of legal complexities and we are examining whether this case was handled correctly."

Source: bbc.co.uk

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