A former Childline charity volunteer has walked free from court after being sentenced for seven sex offences.
Simon Pearce, from Newcastle, Staffs, was convicted at Stafford Crown Court last year of indecent assault against three boys aged nine and 10.
The offences occurred at a primary school in Staffordshire, where Pearce was employed as a temporary teacher.
He was given a three-year community rehabilitation order and put on the sex offenders' register for five years.
Sentencing Pearce, Judge Michael Dudley said he was taking a "wholly exceptional" course by not jailing him.
He told him: "It has to be said....that the behaviour that was being described by the boys was quite bizarre.
"I accept, and this has been urged upon me, that the conduct in terms of indecent assault comes really right at the bottom end of the scale.
"In one instance you asked a boy to suck your thumb, in others you bounced boys on your knee and you smacked boys in front of others."
The defendant, who worked for eight months as a Childline counsellor until June 2000, defended his actions at his trial last year by claiming he had not behaved indecently.