Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Teacher Stephen Tait guilty of touching boys

stephen tait
Image caption Tait had only started work at the school on the day the incidents happened

A supply teacher has been convicted of sexually assaulting two boys on his first day at a Fife school.

Stephen Tait, 29, touched a seven year old on the bottom and a six year old on the stomach and private parts as he was marking their jotters.

He claimed that if he had touched the first boy's bottom it was by accident and denied doing anything to the other boy.

But a sheriff found him guilty of two sexual assaults after a trial.

Dunfermline Sheriff Court heard the supply teacher had only joined the school on the day the incidents happened - the first day back after the summer holidays - as he was replacing a teacher who was unwell.

After delivering his guilty verdict, Sheriff Colin McClory told Tait: "I found the two complainers to be compelling witnesses. One of the boys was clearly very distressed when he was saying what had happened.

"The other boy was more able to recall the incident involving himself, but I found both of them to be very clear when they talked about what had happened to them.

"I was not convinced by your explanation about possible accidental contact with this boy, and I find you guilty of both charges."

'Felt sad'

He called for background reports, and released Tait on bail.

The two boys had given evidence over videolink. The first boy said he had not met Tait before the first day back at school on 16 August, although he described him as a "good teacher".

When asked about Tait, the boy said: "He touched me and my friend. He was touching me on the private parts and the bottom. It happened when I was showing him my work and went up to his desk to get it marked. Teachers would usually stamp my work but it wasn't right what he did to me.

"I felt sad afterwards and told my mum and dad."

The second boy, who was six at the time of the incident but has since turned seven, said: "Mr Tait was touching us. He rubbed me on the tummy and said 'well done' after I got a mark right. He also touched my private parts.

"I didn't like it. It was horrible."

The boys' parents both contacted the school. When Tait turned up at school the next day, the school's head teacher was told by police to detain him in her office.

'Good teacher'

She told him he would be suspended, and he has not been allowed back at the school since.

Tait had said in evidence that the boy's evidence was "all lies", and he has "struggled to get up in the morning" since the allegations came to light.

He said: "I definitely didn't touch either boy on the bottom, and if I have it was an accident. Neither of them are telling the truth.

"I enjoyed teaching and thought I was a good teacher, but after this I never want to work with a child again in my life."

Tait, of Burntisland, Fife, was found guilty of assaulting one boy at the school on 16 August last year by touching him on the bottom.

He was found guilty of assaulting the other boy that same day by touching him on the "tummy" and private parts on two occasions. He will be sentenced on 20 July.