South Scotland

Teacher admits affair with pupil

Thomas Docherty
Image caption Docherty admitted having sex with the girl while he was in a position of trust

A religious education teacher from the Borders has admitted carrying out an affair with a teenage pupil.

Thomas Docherty, 51, of High Street, Innerleithen, quit his post at a school in Midlothian when the relationship was exposed.

At Edinburgh Sheriff Court, he admitted engaging in sexual activity and having sexual intercourse with the girl while she was between 16 and 18 years old and he was in a position of trust.

He will be sentenced next month.

The court heard how he had taken the teenager home for sex while his wife was out.

The girl was described as "vulnerable" and "naive" seeking a father-figure.

Fiscal depute Melanie Ward said Docherty and the girl came into contact at school and also during organised out-of-school activities.

She told the court that in November 2005 the girl went to see a guidance teacher to say she was receiving "unwarranted attention" but refused to name Docherty and later withdrew the allegation and they continued to see each other.

She repeated her complaint in February this year and police were called in.

'Love-sick puppy'

The court heard that in May 2006 the girl was on "exam leave" when Docherty picked her up, took her home and they had full sex for the first time.

A month later, she was in Barcelona on a school trip led by Docherty.

"There were other teachers there," said Ms Ward.

"One of them was concerned about her behaviour because she appeared to be following the accused around like a love-sick puppy."

Solicitor Andrew Gibb, defending Docherty, said: "He accepts it was folly on his part and he accepts the responsibility was his."

Sheriff Alistair Noble added Docherty's name to the sex offenders register and allowed him to remain on bail pending sentence.

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