Thornbury teacher, 52, admits abusing teenage pupil

Castle School, Thornbury Image copyright Google
Image caption Parsons was a teacher at Castle School in Thornbury when the offences were committed

A former drama teacher has admitted sexually abusing one of his 17-year-old students, over a two-year period.

Simon Parsons, 52, was suspended from his position as head of drama at Castle School in Thornbury, South Gloucestershire, in April.

He pleaded guilty to five counts of sexual activity with a child by a person in a position of trust.

He denied a similar sixth charge which was accepted by the Crown and will be sentenced in January.

Grooming denied

The school's head teacher Peter Smart said: "We can confirm that a teacher at The Castle School in Thornbury was suspended in April following notification of a police investigation. The staff member has since resigned."

Mr Smart said he could not comment further while the court case was ongoing.

Although the student was above the age of consent, the Sexual Offences Act 2003 states sexual contact is prohibited between vulnerable 16 and 17-year-olds and adults in schools, colleges and residential care, on the grounds of abuse of a position of trust.

Parsons' lawyer, David Scutt, told the court his client - a teacher for 30 years - admitted the charges but on the basis the sexual activity took place when the victim was 17.

"The basis of plea will refer to the fact that this sexual activity took place from the age of 17 years of age," he said.

"It will be refuted that there was any grooming."

Mr Scutt said there was "background" to the case and the sentencing judge would be helped by a pre-sentence report.

Parsons, of Uley Road, Dursley, Gloucestershire, was released on conditional bail until the sentencing date is fixed.

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