Deputy head teacher ‘pried into pupils’ sex lives’

Teacher Kenneth Boal leaving court in a hurry today. Picture: Vic Rodrick
Teacher Kenneth Boal leaving court in a hurry today. Picture: Vic Rodrick
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A deputy head teacher pried into the sex lives of two teenage pupils for his own sexual gratification, a court heard.

Kenneth Boal repeatedly made lewd comments to the third and fourth year girls during private meetings in his office.

He asked the youngsters if their boyfriends satisfied them sexually and whether they had orgasms, Livingston Sheriff Court was told.

He also commented on their breasts and legs and the tight-fitting clothes they wore and even asked the classmates of one teenager to give her marks out of ten for her looks.

After one sleazy solo session behind closed doors, Boal “adjusted his trousers” and told the fourth-year pupil would have to “go and take a cold shower”.

On other occasions he gave one of the girls a pregnancy test kit and contraceptives and arranged for one of them to go to a local health centre for the ‘morning after’ pill.

Although he was deputy head in charge of child protection at a West Lothian secondary, Boal ignored all the guidelines about telling other members of staff about the girls’ sexual activity, the court heard.

He was found guilty after trial of two offences of lewd and libidinous practices and behaviour against the two girls while they were under 16 and in his care.

Boal, 54, of Leslie Place in Edinburgh’s Stockbridge, had denied the allegations. He was cleared of two related breach of the peace charges.

Michael Anderson, defending, told the court his client had been suspended from the school, which cannot be named for legal reasons, when the allegations came to light.

He resigned from his £54,600-a-year post within hours of being convicted last month.

Passing sentence today, trial judge Sheriff Peter Hammond told Boal the offences had spanned a period of almost two years at a time when he was entrusted with the pupils’ safety, guidance and protection.

He said: “Over a sustained period of time you sought out both of the girls concerned for regular and repeated private meetings at the school.

“At these meetings, under the guise of concern for their welfare and giving personal welfare advice, you cynically pried into their private lives and made intrusive and disturbing inquiries of them and remarks at them about sexual matters which were none of your business.

“You did so, apparently, for your own sexual gratification. You repeatedly ignored child protection school guidelines of which you of all people should have been aware by meeting these girls in closed rooms on their own without any other person being present.”

The sheriff told Boal: “You asked the girls whether they were in sexual relationships, whether they were being sexually satisfied and whether they achieved orgasm and comments of that kind.

“You made remarks about their appearance, their breasts and in particular you made comments about one of them being ‘gorgeous’ and commenting on her legs.

“You displayed on occasions, according to the evidence, signs of sexual arousal involving adjusting your clothing and commenting that you’d need to take a cold shower.

“The girls found these conversational lines disgusting and inappropriate and said that they made them feel ‘dirty’ and ‘upset’. One of the girls in particular said that your behaviour affected her self esteem in of her life.”

Although Boal appeared as a first offender and a well-regarded teacher the sheriff said he was guilty of “a serious and protracted course of reprehensible conduct involving the loss of your personal self-control and restraint”.

He added: “You not only let yourself down but the children for whom you were responsible. You let down your colleagues and the reputation of the teaching profession with this behaviour which is deplorable and wholly unacceptable.

He placed Boal on probation for 18 months with a special condition that he has no unsupervised contact with young children or young people under the age of 17 years during that time.

He also ordered that Boal’s name remains on the sex offenders’ register for 18 months and ordered him to do 220 hours of unpaid work in the community.

Finally Sheriff Hammond told the accused that he had to pay compensation of £1000.00 in respect of each of his victims. Boal was granted for 28 days to pay.