Teacher who filmed young girls’ privates agrees to be struck off register

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A PRIMARY teacher who secretly filmed young girls’ privates at the school where he taught at has agreed to be struck off the teaching register.

James Hughes used his phone and iPad to record pupils after taking them out of class for one-to-one lessons.

The 54-year-old, who was a principal teacher at a school in North Lanarkshire, would get pupils girls to stand on chairs and put their legs in the air while he recorded them under a desk.

Hughes made the children, aged between 9 and 12, get changed in a cupboard where he “directed them to perform actions which exposed their underwear”.

Hughes was only exposed when three teenagers who were on work experience at the school caught him filming.

In December last year, Hughes was sentenced to 18 months behind bars having been convicted three months earlier.

Today new documents released by the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) revealed that he has now agreed to be removed from the teaching register.

A document, signed by Hughes from his cell, reads: “I, James Hughes, declare that I admit the below allegation in full.

“On various occasions between 31 October 2016 and 4 November 2016, you did operate equipment beneath the clothing of various pupils…with the intention of enabling yourself or another person to observe the genitals, buttocks or underwear of the said pupils in that you did record them by use of an electronic device without their knowledge or consent.”

“On various occasions between 3 June 2016 and 4 November 2016…you did operate equipment beneath the clothing of various pupils aged between 9 and 12 years…children who had not attained the age of 13 years, with the intention of enabling yourself or another to observe the genitals, buttocks or underwear of said pupils.

“You did direct all of them to perform actions that exposed their underwear, cause them to enter a storage cupboard to change their clothing and you did covertly record said actions.

“On 5 December 2017 you were sentenced to 18 months imprisonment and you were placed on the Sex Offenders Register in relation to both charges.”

One of the girls on work experience, who was aged between 14 to 16 years old, outed Hughes after sneaking into his office and finding photographs of herself on his iPad.

The shocked teenager reported Hughes to the school’s headteacher who contacted police.

A search of Hughes’ school office and home in Uddingston, South Lanarkshire, found 260 image and 79 recordings on his phone and computers.

Hughes pleaded guilty to the two charges of voyeurism but sat expressionless during a hearing at Airdrie Sheriff Court in September last year.

Airdrie Sheriff Court

During sentencing proceedings at Airdrie Sheriff Court in December, his defence spent over 45 minutes outlining the mental welfare of his client.

He also claimed that Hughes was “bi-polar” and “did not seek sexual gratification from his actions” but intead enjoyed the “excitement from the risk of getting caught.”

Documents released by the GTCS today also revealed how Hughes tried to have his identity kept secret and not made public during proceedings.

But the GTCS rejected his anonymity appeal stating: “The panel was not satisfied that the interests of the teacher in having the decision anonymised outweighed the public interest.

“Given the serious nature of the teacher’s conduct, the panel considered that the publication of the removal with consent order and the decision, without the teacher’s name being anonymised, was necessary to maintain the public’s confidence in the teaching profession.

On agreeing to accept a removal with consent order from Hughes, the GTCS added: “The panel had been provided with no evidence regarding any remedial steps taken by the teacher, nor of any remorse on his part.

“The panel considered that the teacher’s conduct was highly likely to recur, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary.

“Given the lack of evidence relating to the teacher’s remediation/remorse, the panel determined that the teacher is currently unfit to teach.

“The panel determined that the conviction represented conduct of the utmost seriousness, in that it related to sexual offences against young pupils.

“The panel determined that, at the time of the offences, the teacher’s conduct had fallen significantly short of the standards expected of a registered teacher.”

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