Learning assistant sexually assaulted boy with learning difficulties

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A long-serving learning assistant indecently assaulted an extremely vulnerable schoolboy after making him watch a television sex education programme.

Andrew Bradshaw was employed at a school in Edinburgh by the city’s local authority when he preyed on the shocked 15-year-old who has learning difficulties.

The sex offender later took an overdose of aspirins and ended up in hospital because he was “wracked with guilt” before an earlier scheduled court appearance, a judge was told.

Bradshaw, 54, admitted illegally engaging in sexual activity with the child at his home at Morrison Avenue, Tranent, in East Lothian, on July 29 this year, when he appeared at the High Court in Edinburgh today.

Advocate depute Alison Di Rollo told the court that the first offender had been employed as a learning assistant for 15 years.

Bradshaw had gone to the boy’s home on the day of the crime as he was to help him travel to see a girlfriend.

He suggested to the boy’s mother that he take him for a walk instead, but she insisted that he should go on the visit.

But after leaving the learning assistant and the youngster got on a bus and went to Dalkeith before walking to Bradshaw’s house in Tranent.

Ms Di Rollo said: “Once within the address the accused prepared the boy lunch before making him view a Channel 4 sex education programme.”

As they were watching it Bradshaw exposed himself leaving the boy shocked and not knowing what to do or say.

The learning assistant then pulled down the boys trousers and pants and began performing sex acts.

The advocate depute said: “The victim was terrified and was too scared to pull away.”

After it the boy made an excuse to leave the room to go to the toilet. When he returned Bradshaw told him he would take him back home, but made it clear that he should not tell his mother what had happened.

The youngster did not reveal to her the abuse until the following day because he was frightened about the repercussions of disclosure. His mother immediately contacted the police.

Officers later went to Bradshaw’s home where he was detained in relation to a sexual assault.

During an interview he confirmed he was aware of the schoolboy’s learning difficulties. He admitted he had taken the boy to his home against his mother’s wishes.

Ms Di Rollo said: “He conceded that whilst within the house he instigated sexual talk with the victim and agreed that he had shown a programme about sexual development. He admitted carrying out a sexual assault on the victim.”

She said Bradshaw conceded that his actions were wrong and that “this incident was in no way an accident”.

The prosecutor said the case was due to call last month but Bradshaw had been admitted to hospital.

Defence solicitor advocate David Allan said Bradshaw had become unwell after he took an overdose of aspirins. “He tells me the reason he overdosed on aspirin was because he was wracked with guilt because of the way he had behaved here,” he added.

Mr Allan asked for Bradshaw’s bail to be continued although he said the sex offender understood it was inevitable that a jail sentence would be imposed.

The judge, Lord Pentland, refused the motion because of the seriousness of the offence and having regard to the public interest.

He remanded Bradshaw in custody ahead of sentencing next month for the preparation of a background report. He was put on the sex offenders’ register.