Teacher spared jail after pupil affair
- Credit: Adam GraySWNS.com
A TEACHER whose affair with a pupil was rumbled after they visited a sexual health clinic has walked free from court.
Kelly Burgess, aged 26, had a seven-month relationship with the boy, aged between 16 and 17 at the time, while working as his drama teacher at a North Somerset school.
The pair met daily, exchanged more than 1,200 text messages - many explicit - and shared naked photographs with each other.
On Monday, Bristol Crown Court heard Burgess took the boy, who is now 18 but cannot be named for legal reasons, away twice.
One occasion saw them stay in a hotel paid for by the school while Burgess was on a teacher training course .
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Their relationship was exposed when they attended a sexual health clinic where the boy told a nurse he was having a relationship with his “25-year-old teacher”. Burgess, of Grosmont Way, Newport, was later arrested.
She initially denied the affair but eventually pleaded guilty to four sexual offences of breach of trust - engaging in a sexual act with a child between January and August 2013.
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On Monday, Judge Euan Ambrose sentenced Burgess to 10 months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, and made her the subject of a supervision order for two years. She has also been barred from teaching and will remain on the sexual offenders’ register for 10 years.
He said: “You are a picture of misery in this courtroom.
“The relationship, albeit conducted as if between equals, was not a relationship between equals. You were older, you were his teacher and you should at all times have known better.”
The court heard how Burgess had claimed she did not know the relationship was illegal as the boy was over the age of consent. However, in September 2012 she had completed a safeguarding children course which makes reference to the illegality of pupil teacher relationships.
Burgess, who began working at the school in September 2011, was dismissed from her position in August last year.
Defending her, Ray Tully said Burgess developed a ‘genuine attraction’ to the pupil in the second year of her post.
He told the court: “It would not be remotely fair to cast Kelly Burgess as in anyway being some kind of older female predator grooming her young prey.”
As part of her sentence, Burgess must also complete a specific activity requirement and pay prosecution costs of £200.