Teacher accused of ‘grooming’ teen on Facebook

Broxburn Academy, West Lothian, where David McGill was a teacher.
Broxburn Academy, West Lothian, where David McGill was a teacher.
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A TEACHER faces being struck off over allegations he sexually groomed a teenage girl on Facebook.

David McGill, 43, previously a design and technology teacher at Broxburn Academy in West Lothian, has been accused of using the social networking site to ask the girl for nude pictures.

He is also alleged to have made remarks about her piercings and breasts, and invited her to meet him alone, during a series of online exchanges in January 2011.

It is understood Mr McGill was dismissed from his post early last year after a probe, although the Crown Office has decided against immediate court action following a review of police evidence. The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, yesterday spoke via video link during a fitness to teach hearing at the General Teaching Council for Scotland headquarters in Edinburgh.

Struggling at times to maintain her composure, the girl, told how the exchanges started innocently before taking a more sinister turn.

The youngster – who came into contact via her involvement in the army cadets – said: “He added me as a friend on Facebook the summer before I was 15. I just accepted it. Our conversations were mainly what we were doing at cadets. His messages started to become more inappropriate. He asked me to start sending him naked pictures of my [breasts]. I said you should not be saying things like that because of my age and because of the fact he had a family.”

Mr McGill has denied the allegations and told detectives he believed his Facebook log-in details were stolen and his account hacked.

But this is disputed by the teenager, her family and police. “I am 100 per cent certain it was him and not someone else using his account,” the girl told yesterday’s hearing.

The girl’s mother said she was left distraught when officers informed her of their investigation. She said: “When [the police] told us what it was about, I was in tears. The conversations were subtle. It would start out innocently enough and would get worse and worse. It seemed like a gradual process, like grooming, really.”

Crown Office chiefs confirmed that, “after full and careful consideration of the facts and circumstances”, they had decided no proceedings would be taken but said they “specifically reserve the right to prosecute in future should the evidential position change”.

The hearing continues.

johnpaul.holden@edinburghnews.com