Former Westbourne House School teacher Gareth Rees banned
A FORMER teacher who viewed a “pedophile textbook” was banned from the classroom.
Gareth Rees, 32, who worked at a prestigious private school, was caught with indecent images on his phone.
Mr Rees, who has taught elementary school age children at Westbourne House, also took part in sick discussions online.
The allegations concern his internet activity and not the children at school, where parents pay up to £ 19,000 a year.
Mr Rees, who has since resigned, was the subject of a disciplinary hearing in which he was charged with having a sexual interest in children.
Mr Rees has denied a series of allegations, dating from October 2016 to February 2017, but did not attend the Education Regulatory Agency (TRA) hearing.
He has been accused of using terms such as “young nudist”, “pederasty” and “pre-teen” while searching online.
He was also accused of participating in a social media discussion regarding children engaging in sexual activity.
A social media exchange – in which he said “this is so mean but it turns me on … is it wrong?” – appears to involve children engaged in sexual activity, TRA said.
Mr Rees told police he opened the “pedophile manual” but closed it after two minutes, calling the content “horrible” and saying he had not downloaded it. .
In addition, two images found on his phone were classified as Category A and five as Category B, according to an officer statement.
Mr Rees said he recalled seeing “questionable age” material on an adult chat site he was using.
He also remembered seeing unintentionally downloaded images on his phone and immediately deleting them.
He left his post in March 2017 – the same month he was arrested.
However, Mr Rees was found not guilty in a criminal trial in December of the same year.
After reviewing all of the evidence, the TRA committee concluded that the allegation that he had a sexual interest in children was proven.
Mr. Rees has been banned from teaching for an indefinite period.
In a report, the panel said: “Mr. Rees has shown no insight or remorse for denying the allegations in their entirety.
“His failure to report the online material he had seen failed to acknowledge that there was a victim whose well-being needed to be safeguarded.
“The panel was therefore concerned about the risk of repetition given the behaviors that were shown by Mr. Rees.”