Yorkshire teacher jailed for pupil lesbian affair

A teacher who had a lesbian affair with one of her teenage pupils has been jailed for 20 months.

English teacher Louise Yeoman, 29, was involved in a sexual relationship for 14 months with the girl she met while teaching at the school in Wakefield.

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Yeoman's relationship with the youngster developed after they contacted each other via e-mail to discuss homework.

The girl, who was 15 at the start of the offending, began visiting her home where the sexual contact took place.

Yeoman was eventually caught earlier this year when colleagues found a text message from the youngster, by then aged 16, on her mobile phone during a school trip.

Leeds Crown Court heard despite the conviction, Yeoman, who was described as sexually immature, still wanted the relationship with the girl to continue.

But the youngster is thought to no longer want any more contact with Yeoman.

Jailing her yesterday, recorder Adrian Waterman told her: "You were the adult, she was the child. You were the teacher, she was the pupil.

"You were the one in whom trust had been placed to ensure that you would respect the vital boundaries that must exist between adults and children and between teachers and pupils.

He added: "You engaged in subterfuge from the early stages of the sexual relationship, arranging to meet (the victim) in a park, away from her home, and to take her to your own home, dropping her off at the park afterwards.

"Later you moved nearer to her home address, and she was able to walk to and from your home."

Yeoman was also put on the sex offenders' register for ten years and made the subject of a sexual offences prevention order in which she is banned from contacting the victim or seeking work with children.

Duncan Ritchie, prosecuting, said the offences began after the teenager sent a text message to Yeoman saying that she loved her.

Consensual sex would take place at her Yeoman's home at weekends.

During the week she would be treated like any other pupil at school.

The sexual relationship began in 2009 and ended earlier this year when teachers at the school told the headmaster of their suspicions after the school trip.

A police liaison officer then found love messages on the victim's mobile phone hidden under the code name of 'Luke'.

The youngster's DNA was also found on a sex toy discovered at Yeoman's house after a police search.

Yeoman, now of St John's Drive, Harrogate, pleaded guilty to ten sexual offences against the youngster.

Jon Wilkinson, mitigating, said Yeoman believed that they were in a "girlfriend-girlfriend" relationship. He described Yeoman as a "loner" whose only social interaction while in Wakefield was on the internet.

He said: "She was sexually immature. She clearly understands what she did was wrong.

"It is quite apparent that she was craving attention.

"She herself indicated that she was surprised that the complainant, who was a clever, talented and popular, could like her."

He said Yeoman had studied hard to get a degree and teaching qualifications while working for WH Smiths but had now ruined her chosen career.

After the hearing, Sue Johnson, Wakefield Council's Service Director for Schools said: "The safety and wellbeing of all children is of paramount importance in our schools.

"Incidents like this are very rare; nevertheless, robust policies are in place not only to deal with incidents in a swift and appropriate way but also to ensure that support is available to students and staff.

"As soon as the school became aware of this situation the teacher was immediately suspended and we began working with West Yorkshire Police.

"The prompt action of the school and the procedures it had in place played a vital role in assisting the police investigation and bringing this person to court. As soon as the she pleaded guilty in court on November 9 her employment was terminated with immediate effect.

"Wakefield Council and the school take the safeguarding of children and young people very seriously. The teacher betrayed the trust put in her by the school, her students, parents and the Council."

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