Page last updated at 15:13 GMT, Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Man jailed over sex with pupils

A teaching assistant who had sex with two teenage pupils has been jailed for two years and nine months.

Ryan Stewart, 26, was working as a maths coach at a South Yorkshire secondary school when the offences took place, Doncaster Crown Court heard.

The court heard his relationships with the girls developed through social networking websites and text messages.

Stewart, of Grampian Way, Thorne, South Yorkshire, admitted having sex with the girls, aged 15 and 17.

He denied further offences involving two other girls, aged 14 and 15, but these were ordered to lie on file by a judge.

The court heard Stewart admitted having sex with the younger girl in his car and at his parents' home.

I should have known better. I feel so stupid. The way he talked to me made me feel special
What one girl told police

Fiona Swain, prosecuting, told the court: "This is a child who regarded the accused as her boyfriend.

"She still has feelings for the accused. She feels it was her fault for getting him into trouble."

The court heard the defendant first contacted the 17-year-old A-level student on the internet.

Ms Swain said Stewart had sex with her at his parents' home after the girl's mother dropped her off thinking she was visiting a friend.

Other sexual activity took place in Stewart's car and a cinema.

'Wholly unacceptable'

Ms Swain said the teenager told police: "I should have known better. I feel so stupid. The way he talked to me made me feel special."

Stewart was uncovered after he contacted another teenage girl at the school via the Facebook social networking website.

Michael Upson, defending, told the court Stewart was remorseful and admitted his guilt at an early stage.

Mr Upson said both the girls involved had acted consensually.

He said: "None of it was coercive or exploitative and all of it took place with active and willing participants."

Stewart admitted nine counts of sexual activity with a child, in relation to the 15-year-old girl, between October and December 2007.

He also pleaded guilty to five counts of sexual activity with a child by a person in a position of trust, in relation to the 17-year-old, between October 2006 and October 2007.

Judge John Reddihough told Stewart the law was designed to stop teachers and other people who worked with children abusing their positions of trust.

The judge said Stewart knew what he was doing was "wholly unacceptable and wrong".

Stewart was also banned from working with children indefinitely.

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