This is yet another example of a case where mandatory reporting may have assisted. Jeremy Forrest appeared in Lewes Crown Court last week to face charges of child abduction. The court has heard that Forrest began teaching the school girl when she was aged 13 and was her maths teacher. This led to a personal relationship developing and she would confide in him. This developed into a flirtatious relationship and the pair would contact each other via social media website Twitter and through text message.
The relationship progressed to contact outside the school and the prosecution have set out in the trial that soon after she turned 15 the relationship became sexual and they met at a number of locations including Forrest’s home and hotels.
Other teachers at the school noticed that the pupil was being “increasingly infatuated” with the teacher. Members of staff at the school urged him to keep his distance however no reports were made. Members of staff were reassured by Forrest that he was dealing with the situation.
The pupil has said that she told people at school and there were rumours going round. Despite this, the school failed to formerly investigate the matter and no reports were made until after the summer holidays. At this point members of staff were so concerned that the police and children’s services were alerted by staff at the school. The pupil’s phone was confiscated and the pair decided to run away. The pair headed to Dover and were arrested 8 days later in Bordeaux.
It has to be remembered that the girl was aged between 13-15 at the time and the fact that she consented therefore makes no difference to the offence as she was under the age of consent, as pointed out by the prosecution at trial. Forrest strongly abused his position of trust as her teacher.
What is of grave concern in this case is that the school appear to have failed to properly investigate the girl’s relationship with the teacher. They were too late in reporting their concerns to the police and children’s services. If the school had acted when the rumours of the inappropriate relationship surfaced then the family could have been spared the anguish. This is yet another example of why mandatory reporting should be brought in, a campaign that we wholeheartedly support.
Should you wish to discuss any of the issues raised in this article please contact a Child Abuse Lawyer in our specialist abuse team on 020 7657 1658/1502/1653 who will be able to provide confidential advice with no obligations.
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