Brighton teacher who groomed pupil walks from court

Posted On 01 Feb 2010 at 9:57 pm

A Brighton IT teacher who sexually groomed a 14-year-old pupil has been spared jail.

John Cope, 44, was working as a supply teacher at Brighton and Hove High School when the girl developed a crush on him.

He denied meeting her after sexual grooming, but after a trial at Lewes Crown Court he was found guilty on December 7.

Today, the same court sentenced Cope, of Ixworth, Suffolk, to a year’s imprisonment, but suspended it for two years.

The Spearhead

He was also made the subject of a parallel supervision order; required to sign as a Registered Sex Offender; made subject of a 7pm-7am tagged curfew for six months; required to attend a sex offender programme; made subject of a Sexual Offence Prevention Order; and will be reported to the Independent Safeguarding Authority.

Detective Constable Faye Compson said; “We were glad to be able to bring this offender to justice. It sends out a clear message that suspicion about such conduct by people in positions of trust can and should be reported to police, and will be followed up in a sensitive and professional way.”

Cope was sacked from the school after he was arrested in May 2008.

  1. Lynne Charmer Reply

    It doesn’t come as a shock that a supply teacher was unsafe to work with young people and slipped through the net. I registered 18months ago with a leading Supply Agency and stipulated that I could only offer Cover Supervision work as I am not a qualified teacher. Before my references or CRB check went through, the Agency offered me three supply jobs as a cover supervisor and more worryingly, a few weeks’ TEACHING SCIENCE in a senior school. I had to inform THEM that I was neither qualified for the role nor cleared yet by their usual procedures. I have had similar experiences with Social Care agencies. Agencies are trusted to be thorough and selective but in my experience they are more concerned with reaching targets than with supplying a safe workforce. Agency supply workers are often lacking in quality, updated training and supervision. As these agencies are Private Sector, these issues are too often overlooked by the Children’s Trusts.

  2. Ian Reply

    You cant work for long without a CRB and some schools would not have taken him without one but Its always a worry when a teacher is found guilty after an innocent plea. Teaching is such a hard job and I was not in court but it seems the girl had the crush on him and I read another article that said he was acquitted of two more serious charges, so there cant have been very strong evidence that he did/said anything serious. We need to be very careful bringing such charges so often or we wont have any teachers left.

  3. David Reply

    “Flirty” is such a subjective term and why the acquital on the more serious charges? He had a CRB and no previous convictions of any kind. If the press represented the “story” less and the “facts” more we would all have a different opinion and if not different, at least that opinion would be informed correctly.

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