Jail for former Whitefield teacher who sexually abused schoolgirl – then blamed it on HER when caught

By Danielle Wainwright

A former Whitefield teacher who sexually abused a 14-year-old schoolgirl and tried to blame her when he was caught has been jailed for two and a half years today.

Mark Harrison, 49, of Stanley Road, admitted grooming a child and four counts of sexual activity with a child at an earlier hearing and was sentenced at Bolton Crown Court.

He was also made the subject of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order for 10 years. 

The abuse start in December last year when Harrisson left his position at St Monica’s Roman Catholic High School in Prestwich after 17 years, however he continued to visit the school due to his involvement with the orchestra and stage show.

It was then that he struck up a relationship with the girl exchanging texts and messages before he met up with her and sexually abused her.

In his interview with police, Harrison tried to blame the victim.

Detective Sergeant Louise Bentley, from the Child Abuse Investigation Team at Bury, said: “The victim’s emotional and physical wellbeing has been affected as has her school work. It is not an overstatement to say she has suffered enormously as a result of the abuse carried out by Harrison. 

“He sought to minimise his responsibility and as an experienced former teacher and middle-aged man I find such sentiments to be insulting to the victim and others in the profession.

“The courage displayed by the victim in confiding in someone at the school and then speaking to police and supporting a prosecution cannot be understated and does show that there are mechanisms in place for reporting abuse and supporting victims when something like this happens.”

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