A teacher at a top private school in Scotland has been jailed after having a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old female student
Nicola Park, 42, was in the inappropriate relationship with the student for more than two years after her own marriage fell apart, as reported by The Mirror.
Park Called the Girl 'My Angel'
The pupil, then 15, had initially spoken to Park as she struggled with personal issues. They started meeting each other secretly and even had stayovers at Park's home, with the teacher referring to her as "my angel."
The teenager then wanted to end the sexual affair in 2020 and revealed what had happened with Park to her doctor, prompting a police investigation. Officers searched the teacher's home in Scotland and found a number of discoveries linking the pair, including photos of a "sexual nature."
Park, of Bearsden, East Dunbartonshire, pleaded guilty at Glasgow Sheriff Court to engaging in a sexual relationship with the pupil while in a position of trust between December 2016 and April 2019. She was jailed for 27 months and put on the sex offender's list for 10 years.
Abuse of Trust
"This was not a momentary lapse in an otherwise unblemished career in teaching," Sheriff John McCormick said. "This was abuse of trust of a teacher in her late 30s with an adolescent young female that included kissing, touching and engaging in sexual acts."
"You were a teacher and it was you who was in a position of responsibility and trust," he added. "Such is the gravity of the offence, the time it occurred and the professional role as a teacher at the school, in my opinion there is no alternative to a custodial sentence."
Park will no longer be considered suitable to work with children. She was an assistant housemistress at the school and also taught maths and social education.
Park Offered the Girl Support After She Complained About Feeling Lonely
In December 2016, the girl became upset and spoke to Park after complaining about feeling "alone."
"Park offered the girl support which helped her cope with how she was feeling," Prosecutor Jennifer McKee told the court
The teacher said the teenager could contact her outside school hours and regular emails were then exchanged including on Christmas Day and New Year's Day. Park went on to call herself "Auntie Nic" and would sign off with a number of kisses. The pair met in January 2017 in Glasgow's west end. The court heard it was "understood by both this would not be discussed with anyone else."
"Park mentioned that they 'probably should not be meeting up," McKee noted. "The girl felt special knowing that Park was prepared to break the rules for her by meeting her."
The court heard the pair met up on Sundays where kissing occurred, and Park later contacted the teenager before she went on holiday. "You are my angel. I love you to bits," read the message. Park was later involved in sexual acts with the girl, which took place at Park's then home in Glasgow's Hyndland.
Park Struggled with the Break-Up, Displayed 'Manipulative Behavior'
The teenager, now 18, eventually finished school and believed the "relationship had ended." However, the court heard that Park struggled with the "breakdown" and "displayed manipulative behaviour" towards the girl. This lead to the teenager suffering from stress, losing weight and ending up in hospital. In September 2020, she went to her GP and revealed what had been going on with Park.
The girl went on to block contact with Park before contacting the NSPCC â a children's charity that prevents child sexual abuse. In October 2020, Park's home was searched by police. Officers seized a number of photos of the pair together including on an iPhone.
Park later admitted to having contact with the girl outside school, but denied anything "inappropriate." When she was charged, she insisted,"Completely untrue. There was no sexual activity." Park's lawyer said that Park will never work as a teacher again.