Teacher who had indecent pictures of children allowed to stay in profession
Geoffrey Bettley, 36, was dismissed from his 10-year career at St Mary's Catholic School, in Menston, West Yorkshire after he accepted a police caution for images found on his computer.
But a disciplinary panel has ruled that he does not pose a threat to children and can continue teaching.
Conservative MP Phillip Davies has raised concerns about the "worrying situation", warning that parents will feel "uneasy".
The National College of Teaching and Leadership professional conduct panel found that Bettley was “guilty of conduct that may bring the profession into disrepute”.
However, they ruled that the child abuse images were at the lower end of seriousness and that Bettley, who had "shown remorse and victim empathy", did not pose a risk and therefore could continue to teach.
An official working under powers delegated from Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, backed their recommendations.
On behalf of the Secretary of State they wrote: “Downloading images of this nature is a serious matter and is behaviour that falls significantly short of that expected of a teacher.
“Although the images were not viewed in school, that does not alter the fact that this was conduct that has the risk of bringing the profession into disrepute."
But it was agreed that Bettley does not pose a risk as he was caught with “relatively few” images and has shown “insight” which proved he did not have a “deep-seated” problem which could lead to harm.
"I have considered this case and the need to be proportionate and also to act in the public interest,” the Department for Education official said.
"Although the findings in this case are serious ones, I support the recommendation of the panel that a prohibition order should not be applied in this case."
Philip Davies, the MP for Shipley, said: "This is a very worrying case and situation, and I suspect most parents would feel very uneasy about this man being able to continue teaching given his past record.
"I think that in such cases there should be an automatic bar on people being able to teach again."
The professional conduct panel heard that in September 2011 Bettley was cautioned by police for possessing an indecent photograph or pseudo-photograph of a child and placed on the Sex Offender Register for two years.
The caution came after he visited an internet page site and viewed six child abuse images in March 2009.
When his computer was seized over a year later, in December 2010, 143 images - assessed at the lowest, level one, involving nudity and/or erotic posing - were found alongside a further 46 images at level three which had not been opened.
The panel said Bettley had viewed images on the particular site for "two to three years on and off" and “acknowledged that the images were of under age children and were child abuse images".
Bettley, who joined St Mary's in September 2001 from Yorkshire Martyrs Catholic School, in Bradford, West Yorks, was suspended from his job on December 9, 2010, and dismissed a year later.
In October 2011 the Independent Safeguarding Authority banned him from working with children, but removed the restriction on 21 June 2012
In their judgement the panel said: "The downloading of images of this nature is a serious matter. It may be right to say that the images actually seen by Mr Bettley were not at the most serious end of the scale, but nevertheless embarking on the process of downloading such images may lead to the viewing of more serious images."
Nevertheless, the panel ruled did not consider he posed a risk which would require him to be banned for teaching noting he is a “family man” with an “excellent history” in the profession.
They noted that their findings of guilt and his caution would show up on a CRB check when he applied for any job.
Jane Held, independent chairman of Leeds Safeguarding Children Board, said on behalf of St Mary's: "The Board is clear that in Leeds we do not want to see any kind of behaviour that may put children or young people at risk in any setting or service including schools."
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