A teacher who had a sexual relationship with a pupil after she revealed she had a crush on him has been jailed for eight months.
Richard Pink was told by a judge he had to pass a prison sentence to reflect the view of the public and Parliament that such unacceptable behaviour had to be punished.
The 32-year-old married father was teaching at Holmesdale Technology College in Snodland when the offence was committed several years ago.
Holmesdale Technology College in Snodland, where Pink taught
Maidstone Crown Court heard Pink became “friendlier” with the girl when she was 16.
They exchanged telephone numbers and then sexual texts.
When she was 17 Pink told her it was difficult to remain professional when she was around.
He touched her bottom and then told her he hoped he had not upset her. She replied: “On the contrary, it was really nice.”
On another occasion there was a “clinch” in a store cupboard when he again touched her bottom.
“She thought the relationship had moved to the next level,” said prosecutor Paul Valder. “Again, he sent her a text saying he hoped he hadn’t scared her.”
Pink invited her to his home and they kissed and went to his bedroom and indulged in sexual foreplay. It happened a second time.
She was due to go there again but lost her nerve. The relationship then petered out.
Mr Valder said the girl eventually confessed to her mother and the school was contacted.
Pink, of Brooklands Road, Larkfield, Maidstone, admitted four offences of sexual activity with a child while in a position of trust.
Submitting a suspended sentence could be imposed, Jane May, defending, said Pink would never teach again. He had found a temporary job as a courier van driver and had prospects of a permanent job.
But Judge Charles Byers told Pink: “I have no doubt you were a dedicated and talented teacher. I also have no doubt you were given training on appropriate behaviour with students.
“You entered into a voluntary and consensual relationship with this young girl when you were 25 and she was 16 and 17.
"I give you credit for the fact you did not bring the relationship into any form of fruition until she had passed the age of consent.
“But the law is there to protect students from the advances of their teacher. Your relationship with her progressed from general fondling, kissing and cuddling eventually to the bedroom...
"The law is there to protect students from the advances of their teacher. Your relationship with her progressed from general fondling, kissing and cuddling eventually to the bedroom" - Judge Charles Byers
“I can’t overlook that. Although I accept there may have been genuine affection during this criminality the public and, indeed, Parliament take the view that unacceptable behaviour of this sort has to be punished.
“The sentence I pass must reflect that. You are a person who has worked hard. You have done your best to put this behind you. You have done your best to obtain employment.
“I recognise you will never work as a teacher again. I take that very much into account.”
The judge said he gave credit for the fact that Pink’s guilty plea meant the victim did not have to give evidence.
A sexual offences prevention order was made for five years and Pink’s name will appear on the sex offenders’ register.