Teacher ‘sent explicit sexual pictures to pupil’

A TEACHER faces being struck off amid claims he sent sexual messages and revealing pictures of himself to a pupil.

Friday, 16th January 2015, 11:45 am
John Docherty is said to have texted sexual remarks to the pupil. Picture: comp

Thomas John Docherty – known as John – is accused of inappropriate communication with a sixth-form pupil while both attended Linlithgow Academy.

It is alleged the chemistry teacher made sexual remarks to the pupil by text message and Facebook and sent pictures of himself in a “state of undress”.

Mr Docherty is also said to have met the teenager in Edinburgh and taken her for a drive in his car before kissing her.

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A panel at the General Teaching Council for Scotland will also hear that Mr Docherty contacted the girl asking that she delete all his Facebook messages and text messages after he was suspended.

Mr Docherty is alleged to have met the student on three occasions outside of school – once after he had received a warning for his behaviour.

The alleged relationship took place between December 2012 and March 2013 – whilst Mr Docherty was employed on a temporary-contract basis with West Lothian Council.

The hearing will take place later this month with evidence set to be heard from the pupil, her friend and her friend’s mother. Evidence from the pupil with whom Mr Docherty is alleged to have inappropriate contact will be heard in private.

Mr Docherty failed to attend a procedural hearing into the allegations in November and was not represented.

A pre-hearing report into the case reads: “The nature of the allegations to which the witness will speak will require her to give evidence about sexual aspects of their relationship.

“When she gave her statement to the GTCS she had been distressed, uncomfortable and embarrassed. In view of the alleged inappropriate relationship, significant distress could be caused to the witness, which was likely to have a detrimental effect on her evidence.”

A spokesman for West Lothian Council said that Mr Docherty had been on a temporary contract with the school, and officials had made the decision not to renew his contract following the alleged incidents that took place during his year at Linlithgow Academy.

He added: “In all cases of child protection, it’s West Lothian Council policy to inform the police. The police were made aware of the allegations.”

A police spokesperson said she was unaware whether any formal charges had been brought against Mr Docherty for the alleged offenses.

During the procedure, a panel ruled that full anonymity would be given in subsequent hearings to the pupil involved – as well as her friend.

A full hearing has been scheduled for January 22 to decide whether Mr Docherty is still fit to teach, or whether he will be struck from the register.

Mr Docherty’s stint at Linlithgow Academy is thought to have been his second full-time teaching job – the first being a year teaching chemistry with Dundee City Council for the 2010-2011 school year.

The Evening News made attempts to contact Mr Docherty but he failed to respond.