Sophie Wilkinson | Contributing Editor | Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Schoolgirl Accused Of 'Grooming' Teacher 'Regrets' Ever Going To Court

The Debrief: The 16-year-old’s abuser was given an 18-month suspended sentence last year…

A 16-year-old girl accused by a judge of ‘grooming’ her teacher has gone public to say that she ‘regrets’ ever going to court and that the judge’s comments felt like she’d been ‘kicked in the stomach’.

Earlier this year, we were pretty appalled by a judge saying that a 16-year-old girl had ‘seduced’ the 44-year-old teacher who had an affair with her. We were further appalled that, though, that the judge stated Stuart Kerner, vice-principal of Bexleyheath Academy, had failed to ‘show restraint’, Joanna Greenberg QC gave him just an 18-month suspended sentence.

We don’t know whether it was the fact Kerner had sex with the girl in a storage cupboard (on a yoga mat he had brought in specifically for the act to take place on) or the fact that this happened the same week his wife miscarried, or the fact that, as a teacher he was legally required to act ‘in loco parentis’ (in place of a parent) to the child. (Just FYI, Kerner was a religious studies and ethics teacher – really). But the judge said, ‘The victim pursued you. Her friends described her, accurately in my view, as stalking you.’

‘If grooming is the right word to use, it was she who groomed you, [and] you gave in to temptation.’

The judge even said that Kerner’s wife miscarriage made him ‘vulnerable’!

And it didn’t sit right with us at all.

The comments didn't go down well with the teenager, who cannot be named. She told The Sun, ‘How did I seduce him? I didn’t pounce on him. He was the teacher. He groomed me. He arranged the time and places that we would meet. I still can't get my head around how someone as well educated as a judge could say those things.’

‘People will picture me wearing skirts and dolled up with make-up, but I’m a plain Jane who worked in the school library. I wish the trial had never gone ahead. I regret it more than the affair.’

To be frank, it doesn’t matter whatever the girl wore or presented herself. Yes, she told The Sun she ‘fancied’ Kerner and considered him her ‘first boyfriend’, but that should mean nothing in the court of law – Kerner is an adult who had adult responsibilities for her and he crossed the line. Plus, this guy cheated on his wife (who he has a child with) with a 16-year-old girl, bringing her round to his house (while his wife was out) to have sex, eat Marmite on toast and watch Bargain Hunt with. The fact he treated such a serious criminal act with such casualness shows how little of a shit he gave about the girl, surely?

The Court of Appeal cannot look at the case, because the crimes committed were not included in the ‘unduly lenient’ sentence scheme.

You might also be interested in: 

Teacher Who Had Sex With Student Avoids Jail Time, As Judge Rules It Was Student's Fault

Big Brother's Teaching Us All About Consent And That's Great 

'My Rapist Added My On Facebook' The Truth About Sexual Assault At Oxford University 

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