Science teacher had sex with pupil, 16, in his home

Shannon Parsons, 33, had been exchanging ‘flirty and sexual messages’ and intimate photographs with the boy for months (Picture: Jim Bennett)

A female science teacher slept with a 16-year-old pupil at his family home while his parents were at work.

Shannon Parsons, 33, had been exchanging ‘flirty and sexual messages’ and intimate photographs with the boy for months in 2018.

But Maidstone Crown Court, in Kent, heard she knew what she was doing was wrong and she should have ended it.

The mum, from Welling in south-east London, pleaded guilty to abuse of a position of trust by causing or inciting sexual activity with a child.

She sobbed in the dock yesterday as she was given a prison sentence of 12 months suspended for two years.

Judge Philip Statman told the mum that although she and the boy had consensual sex, her behaviour had involved ‘significant planning and an element of grooming’.

‘You were the adult, he was the student, you were in your 30s, he was 16, and you had a responsibility pursuant to your profession to behave in an appropriate manner towards him,’ he said.

‘You failed to comply with that which was required of you. It was one thing to have an interest in the education of a student and help a student to do his very best.

Notice Please Read Rights Usage Terms; PIC SHOWS;Pic taken yesterday (24/3/21) of Science Teacher Shannon Parsons Age33 yrs From Welling Kent.Spared jail for having Sex with a 16 year old Boy at Maidstone Crown court Today . Website.No Social media use.Without Prior Consent from the Copyright Owner.Please see Rights Usage Terms.

Parsons, of Welling, pictured leaving Maidstone Crown Court yesterday (Picture: Jim Bennett)

‘But you crossed the important boundary and you fractured the relationship between student and teacher.

‘The abuse of that position of trust highlights just how serious this type of criminality is.’

The court heard how the pair ‘got on well’ and the boy, then aged 15, had emailed his teacher asking her to text him for help with his work.

Ignoring the safeguarding policy of the school – a state secondary in Gravesham – she then used her personal phone to message him.

Prosecutor Vivian Walters explained their conversations were initially about ‘school stuff’ and home life but then ‘turned into flirting’.

‘He said he would then see her at lunchtimes and once he was 16 the conversations started being more about sex,’ she said.

‘He said she would message him constantly, they had exchanged sexual photographs of themselves and arranged to meet for sex.’

The teenager told police in an interview that he ‘always felt a bit weird’ about their conversations, and would cut them short.

The 16-year-old and the teacher had sex one afternoon at his home while his parents were at work (Picture: Jim Bennett)

He said although at times he was ‘up for it’, the fact of who she was ‘put him off’.

But the court heard the pair had sex one afternoon at his home while his parents were at work.

Miss Walters said: ‘They had started kissing and then had sex. He was 16. He said that after they had had sex he felt awkward. He didn’t talk to her and ignored her on Instagram.

‘She tried to talk to him on exam results day… but he said he couldn’t be bothered. He also said he told a couple of mates (what had happened) which was how it got spread around.

‘He said it affected him quite badly because “everyone was talking about it”.’

The relationship was exposed when parents of another pupil raised their concerns.

Parsons was arrested, immediately confessed, and resigned from her job.

The court heard Parsons was considered ‘well-respected and highly regarded’ by her colleagues.

Miss Walters said she was considered a good teacher and had been given the extra responsibility of being a ‘learning conversation leader’.

‘She said she wasn’t in love with him, it was purely sexual and she never thought of him as a child,’ the prosecutor added.

‘She agreed it was not okay to do what she did but felt he wanted it to happen.’

The court heard Parsons had waited until the boy was 16 before sleeping with him.

Simon Connolly, defending, said Parsons had ‘unreservedly’ admitted her guilt and made no attempt to either avoid responsibility or blame others.

She was also said to be suffering from mental health issues at the time – and has since been diagnosed with a stress-related adjustment disorder.

‘It was a single incident, there was no attempt to repeat it and was followed immediately by regret,’ Mr Connolly told the court.

‘She has lost a job she worked hard to achieve and dearly loved. Of course, that is her own fault but that in itself is a punishment for her.’

General view of Maidstone Crown Court

She was given a prison sentence of 12 months, suspended for two years, at Maidstone Crown Court (Picture: PA)

Although interviewed by police, the court was told the boy did not want to provide a victim personal statement.

His dad said his son’s general behaviour had not been ‘negatively affected’, but he had experienced some bullying as a result.

The court heard it took two years for Parsons to be charged – despite her full confession – with the CPS having to repeatedly chase Kent Police to complete the case file.

As part of her sentence, Parsons must undertake 40 days of a rehabilitation activity, will be subject to a sexual harm prevention order for five years and must sign the sex offenders’ register for 10 years.

She will also be barred from working with children and vulnerable adults.

The court heard although she still lives with her daughter’s father, their relationship was coming to an end at the time of the offence.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

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