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Monday, 4 February, 2002, 21:26 GMT
Cleared teacher was a 'risk'
Amy Gehring
Miss Gehring is to return to Canada
Teacher Amy Gehring, who has been cleared of indecently assaulting two teenage boys, continued to work in schools after police warned she was a "risk".

The 26-year-old Canadian national was cleared at Guildford Crown Court on Monday of all four counts of indecent assault.

It emerged after the trial that police had previously investigated Miss Gehring for alleged assaults at another school in Surrey.

The government said the case raised "extremely serious issues" with regards to supply teachers.

Drunken party

Miss Gehring's solicitor, David Todd, said in a statement outside the court: "It stands to reason that Amy is both pleased and delighted at today's verdict.

"She would like to thank her family and her friends for their continued support.

This case has raised extremely serious issues which we will be discussing with teacher supply agencies

Department for Education and Skills

"It must be remembered that this case has hung over her head for well over a year.

"She is certainly looking forward to returning home well away from the public eye."

Miss Gehring, of Hampton, south-west London, was accused of assaulting two brothers, aged 14 and 15, she met while teaching.

The offences were alleged to have begun on 19 November 2000, when Miss Gehring was aged 25 and a biology supply teacher at a Surrey comprehensive.

The jury acquitted Miss Gehring of three charges and the judge ordered a verdict of not guilty on a fourth.

On Wednesday, the jury was told to clear her of a fifth charge of indecent assault against another 15-year-old boy.

She was charged with seducing the boys at a New Year's Eve party while drunk on Malibu.

Letter ignored

Miss Gehring, who was brought up on her family's farm in a rural community in Otterville, Canada, admitted her behaviour had been "inappropriate" but she vigorously denied any sexual improprieties or encounters with the boys.

She first came to the attention of police when she faced similar accusations at the first comprehensive where she worked after arriving in England in 2000.

No charges were brought following an investigation into the allegations, which were made while Ms Gehring was on a four-week placement at the school.

A police spokesman said: "Surrey Police were already aware of other recent alleged incidents of serious assault at another school in the county which we previously fully investigated.

Case's aftermath

"In that instance due to the unwillingness of one pupil to pursue a prosecution and the other complainant was over 16 at the time of the alleged assault we were unable to proceed further."

"Nevertheless, the Surrey multi-agency senior strategy group, which manages the risk of young people, informed the school and TimePlan of the allegations.

"These letters expressed in the clearest possible terms the nature of the risk posed by Amy Gehring."

The case has led to the sacking of TimePlan's Surrey director, Rob Stonier, and the resignation of Chris King, its director of education.

TimePlan said Mr Stonier had failed to tell Mr King of the warning - or inform the Department for Education and Employment, as it was called before the 2001 general election.

The agency said if Mr King had known about the letter, he would have sacked Miss Gehring immediately.

A spokesman for the Department for Education and Skills said: "This case has raised extremely serious issues which we will be discussing with teacher supply agencies.

"We have already had a meeting with Timeplan and will follow their internal inquiry very closely."

The BBC's Mike Baker
"After this unusual case, two investigations are underway"
David Todd, Amy Gehring's lawyer
"Amy is both pleased and delighted at the verdict"
Ian Penman, Chairman of Timeplan
"One manager chose to ignore a piece of paper that he should have not ignored"

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See also:

04 Feb 02 | Education
Agency admits error over teacher
04 Feb 02 | Education
How teachers avoid dangerous liaisons
22 Jan 02 | England
Pupil's 'toilet sex' with teacher
01 Feb 02 | England
Jury retires in teacher sex trial
30 Jan 02 | England
Sex charge against teacher dropped
29 Jan 02 | England
Boys 'offered money' for story
21 Jan 02 | England
Teacher 'had sex with pupils'
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