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Tuesday, 15 August, 2000, 15:54 GMT 16:54 UK
Teacher cleared of sexual assaults
Swansea Crown Court
The jury took just five minutes to clear Robert Zatac
A special needs teacher has been cleared of sexually assaulting two pupils.

Robert Zatac, 38, of Merlin's Bridge near Haverfordwest was sacked 12 days after starting his new job at a school for children with special needs.

He was alleged to have grabbed the bottom of a 12-year-old girl as she walked to a class and put his hand on the leg of a second girl during another lesson.

The girls also claimed he had made fun of a handicapped pupil in front of classmates and had asked pupils to call him "Mr Nightmare".

But a jury at Swansea Crown Court took just five minutes to return unanimous verdicts of not guilty.

Scales of Justics
Mr. Zantac said the allegations were a 'total shock'
Mr. Zatac, a married man with one daughter, said the allegations had come as a "total shock". He thought he had been called to the headmistress' office to be congratulated on how well he was doing, but he was sent home immediately.

He had denied touching the pupils and said he did not recognise the second girl, even when she gave evidence in court

Allegation 'easy to make'

Mr. Zatac added he had once reported the other girl to a teacher for giving a "V" sign behind his back.

His barrister, Adam Crook, who earlier said the girls had fabricated the claims, told the jury the allegation was easy to make and very difficult to refute.

Once the ball had started rolling, it would keep on going until it reached the jury, he said.

Mr. Zatac had worked with handicapped and slow learners for several years as a volunteer. The position at the school was his second paid post.

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