Rudolf Steiner School Kings Langley: Former teacher denies sexual assault in classroom
A private school teacher has denied inappropriate behaviour including a sexual assault on a pupil, at a professional hearing this week.
Denis McCarthy appeared before a professional conduct panel for a hearing which is expected to last 18 days.
Mr McCarthy, who is representing himself and denies all of the allegations, was a senior member of staff at Rudolf Steiner School Kings Langley (RSSKL).
The £9,857-a-year school closed in June following a series of concerns about safeguarding of pupils.
When the hearing began on Monday the panel was told of a list of allegations which went back almost a decade.
These include pushing a 10-year-old girl up against a wall and pulling her underwear and leggings down to her knees when they were alone in a classroom.
In addition Mr McCarthy is said to have acted inappropriately by touching young female students and having them sit on his lap, ignoring instructions not to do so until he was eventually suspended, and holding a lesson where he told students to list all of the swear words that they knew –many of which were of a sexual nature.
It is alleged that Mr McCarthy was acting with the intention of deriving “immediate sexual gratification” from his actions.
Police had looked into allegations made against Mr McCarthy but had concluded that the criminal threshold had not been breached.
The hearing was due to start at 9.30am on Monday, but was delayed four hours following Mr McCarthy’s late arrival and then further discussions in private between Mr McCarthy, the Teaching Regulation Agency, and the panel hearing the case.
Mr McCarthy, who taught at RSSKL for almost 34 years until January 2017, will not be calling witnesses, but he did respond to each of the allegations after the Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) put its case.
With regard to the allegation that he pulled the 10-year-old’s underwear down to her knees, he denied that any such incident had occurred.
He said: “This pupil knew nothing about it (the alleged incident) for years, and then it came to her in a flash.”
He added: “I would never do that to any of my pupils, who I have the greatest esteem for.”
Although Mr McCarthy said he had “not prepared anything,” he said that there were many witnesses who could help demolish allegations of one case of inappropriately touching a pupil’s back for which he had been suspended.
He stated that the swearing lesson had been misrepresented, and although students did list rude words “some of which I’d never heard myself,” this was to teach them how not to use inappropriate language.
And he said that, contrary to the TRA’s case, he had never been given instructions to not physically contact students.
Regarding the student whose leggings and underwear he allegedly pulled down, he said: “I was a teacher for 26 years before Student A arrived in my class. My record in those years has been excellent.
“My experience of Parent A is that she’s got a strange way of looking at things.”
The hearing is scheduled to conclude on January 22.