Published: 00:01, 16 August 2019
| Updated: 16:21, 18 September 2019
A grammar school teacher jailed for having sex with a young girl was considered a “creep” by pupils and subjected to chants of “paedo” in front of other staff members, it has emerged.
But pupils say speculation about his behaviour had circulated for months, with it alleged he would often make inappropriate comments to young girls at the school, where he had taught maths since 2016.
Pupils chanted paedo at McCarthy
As he was jailed for five years on Monday, footage emerged of him playing in a staff versus students football match - thought to be in March - with pupils chanting “paedo, paedo” in his direction.
One student, who asked not to be named, told KentOnline: “He couldn’t even walk down corridors without people shouting things about him.
“The way in which he acted led to plenty of speculation. There had been rumours about his behaviour for months and months.
“Lots of girls had said they thought he was creepy due to the inappropriate comments he had made to them since he started at the school.”
McCarthy was arrested at his home in St Thomas Hill, Canterbury, after police were alerted by someone who had seen him touching his victim.
He would later admit to having had sex with the girl a number of times, sending her thousands of text messages – many of them sexual – and taking and downloading indecent images of her.
He even proposed to marry his victim and arranged for her to spend nights at his home.
His phone was seized and contained about 500 photos of the girl, many of them selfies and a number sexual.
“I consider that your behaviour, including your intimate, sexualised and regular communications, amounted to a process of grooming her..." - Judge Simon James
Sentencing McCarthy at Canterbury Crown Court, Judge Simon James told him he had preyed on his victim.
“It is only now that she is free of your influence that she has come to understand just how abusive, coercive and controlling your relationship with her was,” he said.
“I consider that your behaviour, including your intimate, sexualised and regular communications, amounted to a process of grooming her.”
Prosecutor Simon Taylor told the court McCarthy cultivated what his victim described as a “father and daughter-style relationship”.
“The victim said she thinks the defendant took advantage of her because he saw that she was vulnerable and he pushed her as far as she would go,” he said.
“She said that sex was something she had nightmares about, and the defendant saw it as a point on which he could go forward.”
Disturbing texts McCarthy sent to his victim were also read out in court as her family sat in the public gallery.
Mr Taylor said: “The defendant asked for her to delete the messages. He told her of the consequences, and told her his life was in her hands.”
Despite his arrest and suspension from work, McCarthy continued to text his victim and even sent her a letter professing his love for her – in breach of his bail conditions. Another letter was sent to her mum, apologising for what had happened.
Judge James said: “While your deluded thinking and endeavours to contact your victim and her family following your arrest are concerning, your convictions make it highly unlikely you will be placed in such close contact with children in the future.”
Defending, Mitchell Cohen said McCarthy had now lost his career and suffered a downturn in his mental health. He added the teacher was of previous good character, emotionally unstable at the time of the attacks and “needed to be needed”.
“We were appalled to hear of the serious misconduct by this former teacher..." - Barton Court Grammar School
McCarthy pleaded guilty to four counts of sexual activity with a child, one of engaging in sexual conversation with a child and two of taking/making indecent images of a child.
Upon his release from prison he will be subject to a restraining order – banning him from contacting his victim – and a sexual harm prevention order imposing strict conditions on his living and work arrangements.
A statement issued by Barton Court at the conclusion of the case said: “We were appalled to hear of the serious misconduct by this former teacher.
“At the time of his appointment in September 2016 he had passed all safer recruitment checks including enhanced DBS, barred list check and previous employment checks.
“After his arrest he was immediately suspended. He was then dismissed from the Trust after admitting the offences”.
“He has been referred to the DBS barring service and the Teaching Council and will therefore not be able to work in any aspect of education in the future.
“The safeguarding of all our students is our highest priority and all such concerns have always been rigorously pursued by the school, including in this case, involving all associated external agencies such as KCC Safeguarding Team and the local police, and agreed measures put in place to protect our students.”
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More by this authorSean Axtell