Retired teacher caught with child pornography is struck off

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A RETIRED infant school teacher caught with child porn has been banned from the classroom.

John O’Shea admitted possessing 18 indecent DVDs and cassettes at a General Teaching Council hearing.

And Mr O’Shea, a former teacher at Devonshire Infant School in Francis Avenue, Southsea, also admitted accessing stories containing indecent or inappropriate content from an internet website.

Now a GTC panel has banned him from teaching after finding him guilty of unacceptable professional conduct.

Mr O’Shea, who has more than 30 years of teaching experience, must wait at least two years before applying to be reinstated. Any bid to return to teaching must first be considered by another disciplinary panel.

The panel’s findings state that Mr O’Shea was ‘less than candid’ when explaining his actions to school governors and the headteacher at Devonshire Infant School, where he taught between June 2004 and December 2007.

The findings read: ‘A number of the films contain scenes involving young boys and older women often engaged in sexual activity.

‘The fact that both the films and stories focused on underage boys is, in our view, entirely inappropriate for a member of the teaching profession even though this activity was restricted to his own home.’

In reaching its decision to strike him off the disciplinary committee said he is ‘fundamentally incompatible’ with continuing to be a registered teacher.

The panel’s findings state: ‘We believe that our public duty requires us to impose a disciplinary order in this case.

‘Mr O’Shea’s behaviour – notwithstanding it was restricted to activities in his own home – is incompatible with his position as a registered teacher.

‘The films which he had in his possession featured naked and semi-naked children in their early teens some being shown while engaged in sexual activity with adults.

‘We accept that there is no evidence before us that any inappropriate behaviour that Mr O’Shea engaged in affected his pupils or occurred on school premises or in school time. However we think the age of the children featured in the films and stories accessed by Mr O’Shea makes this conduct particularly serious.

‘We think that the public would expect someone with Mr O’Shea’s admitted inappropriate interest in young persons to be kept out of the classroom. We note that Mr O’Shea has a teaching career of over 30 years and that he considers that he has now retired.’

Mr O’Shea has 28 days to appeal.

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