Former teacher Jonathan Thomson-Glover has been sentenced to three years and nine months in prison for making indecent films of more than 120 pupils using hidden cameras.
The 53-year-old pleaded guilty to 36 counts of making, taking and possessing indecent images of children. He made the films at Clifton College in Bristol, where he taught, and also at another address in Cornwall.
During a trial at Taunton Crown Court, the jury heard how pupils between 12 and 17 were secretly filmed over a 16-year period. The prosecution claimed the covert video footage found by police involved more than 120 young victims.
Detective Inspector Andrea Kingdon from Devon and Cornwall Police said, "The way he's behaved is abhorrent, it's a massive breach of trust, an invasion of privacy... and when you imagine the position he's in, in relation to his victims, he's captured them doing the most private of acts."
Insufficient Sentence for an Appalling Breach of Trust
Slater and Gordon are currently acting for one of Jonathan Thomson-Glover’s victims.
Whilst we welcome the conviction, the length of the prison sentence does not reflect the severity of the abuse of trust displayed by Thomson-Glover over many years.
He has caused huge distress to pupils past and present and, during trial, a number of children who should have been free to focus on their exams have been left distraught by these dreadful offences.
As stated by the prosecution during trial, there could be around 120 pupils who were filmed by Thomson-Glover. That’s a large number of people who will be devastated at learning how they were secretly filmed by a teacher they trusted – and a large number of families who will be appalled at how the secret filming continued for such a long time.
Vicarious Liability – Can Clifton College be Liable for Thomson-Glover’s Crimes?
Thomson-Glover was arrested in August 2014 after the National Crime Agency discovered that his computer IP address was used to download indecent images. If it wasn’t for this, could his sickening crimes have continued for longer than 16 years?
It beggars belief how he got away with the secret filming for so long and it raises questions about the safeguarding of vulnerable children in some schools.
Schools have to take responsibility for the actions of their teachers and need to be accountable when things go wrong. Under the principle of vicarious liability, an employer can be held responsible for an employee’s actions provided it can be shown that those actions took place during the course of their employment.
The school could potentially be vicariously liable for the actions of Jonathan Thomson-Glover, regardless of whether they knew of his activities, as he was a teacher at the school and the acts took place in the course of his employment.
Oliver Jeffcott is an Associate Personal Injury Solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers UK, specialising in child abuse claims.
Slater and Gordon Lawyers have the UK’s most experience team of child abuse lawyers and are currently representing over 800 survivors of abuse. We have particular experience of claims against private schools and are currently representing a victim of Jonathan Thomson-Glover.
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