Girls’ boarding school master jailed for sexual assault on pupil

Anthony Brown had been a trusted Chemistry teacher at Goldophin School, Salisbury, Wilts, when he became infatuated with one of the pupils.

Salisbury Crown Court heard the 50-year-old took the girl under his wing and offered her extra tuition and counselling.

But the school became concerned after a parent raised concerns about the teacher’s behaviour.

Staff discovered the father of three, from Figheldean, Wilts, had been texting the girl and communicating with her outside of school hours.

Brown was warned about the relationship but persisted, inviting her to stay over at his house.

The court heard he had shared a bed with the girl on two occasions, during which he had touched her sexually.

Brown was suspended from the £24,000 a year school but later resigned from his post.

He pleaded guilty to two counts of engaging in sexual activity with a child aged between 13 and 15.

Sentencing Brown to three years in jail, Judge Keith Cutler said he had brought the whole teaching profession into disrepute.

He said: “Parents who send their children to school should be able to have complete confidence that these children will be cared for, respected and educated.

“There are clear concerns arising in this case about your position with Godolphin School.

“There is no doubt that if we had been meeting six months ago, I would have been able to see that you were a teacher of high respect with many years of good service and many academic successes.

“Now six months later you have thrown away your career, your life and your good name.

“The bond between you and the victim became one of a father and daughter rather than a teacher and pupil.

“That was noticed by the school. You were warned by the headmistress. She saw the warning signs of what was going on and acted completely properly.

“The school had realised there was inappropriate contact and you were suspended.”

Talking about the relationship with the girl, he added: “It was a sad persistence, not just a momentary lack of judgement.

“It was a gross abuse of trust. You have let down an excellent school with a high academic achievement record.

“You have let down your own family and friends who no doubt have looked up to you and respected you.

“You have let down the victim and you have brought in to disrepute the whole teaching profession.”

He added: It’s quite clear the victim blames herself for what happened. I hope she will learn that none of what happened is her fault. It’s your fault, it was your choice.”

Brown was also told he will be on the sex offenders register for life.

He was also banned from working with children for 15 years and given a sexual offences prevention order for 15 years.

Stephen Ritter, defending, said: “He fell head over heels in love with her, which was totally inappropriate.

“He was in a mix – helping sort her out professionally and trying to stabilise the child’s life.”

Goldophin is one of the oldest girls’ schools in the country and pupils still wear Edwardian-style smocks as well as straw boater hats.

Founded in 1726 for the education of eight young orphaned gentlewomen, it now takes more than 700 girls from the age of 11-18 on a day and boarding basis.

The impressive grounds, which include two swimming pools, a fitness centre, library and performing arts centre, are just five minutes walk from Salisbury city centre.

Former pupils include novelist Jilly Cooper, who returned in 2011 to open a boarding house named in her honour.

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