A music instructor at a Perthshire school told a pupil “I’m your school dad” when she challenged him about hitting her on the bottom with his hands and drumsticks, a jury heard on Tuesday.
James Clark, 56, touched the girl’s bottom “at least once a week” between her S3 and S5 years, she said in evidence.
The former pupil, now 19, said she got on better with Clark than most other teachers at the school.
She said he had “physically touched her on the bum” with his hands and with drumsticks, sometimes in the school.
Clark denies sexually assaulting girls aged between 11 and 18 at the school, which cannot be named for legal reasons.
‘Regularly remind him he was a teacher’
The woman told the third day of a trial: “On quite a few occasions we’d say, ‘You can’t be doing that, you’re our teacher’.
“He’d say, ‘You know I don’t mean it like that, I’m your school Dad’.
“He’d usually get flustered – he’d get quite defensive about it.
“We’d regularly remind him he was a teacher.”
The court heard Clark was called to a meeting with the headmaster in February 2019, told that “allegations of sexual misconduct” had been made by an S6 girl, and immediately suspended.
The pupil giving evidence to the trial then spoke to another teacher and the police – the first time she had told any adult about Clark’s actions.
She said: “We did not really think anything of it.”
Pupil felt ‘violated’
Another former pupil, now 18, who was also interviewed by police, told the court Clark had given her “just playful hits on the shoulder and backside” and often hugged her “to say goodbye, or if something good had happened”.
The prosecutor asked: “Did you want him to hug you?”
She replied: “I guess – I didn’t not want him to.”
Earlier, the trial heard from other former pupils who said they had been hit on the bottom by Clark with drumsticks.
One, now 23, said she had been left feeling “violated”.
Another, now 19, said Clark used to hit her bottom with drumsticks, the back of his hand, “or if he had something in his hand, like a plastic bag”, two or three times a week.
She said she “started to call him out” when she was in her fourth year of secondary school, after which the incidents became less frequent.
She agreed with Clark’s counsel, Sarah Livingstone, that what was happening had not put her off being in the school band, and that the “calling-out” was on the lines of “don’t hit my bottom because someone might look at that and take it the wrong way”.
Denies all charges
Clark, 56, of Ettrick Loan, Edinburgh, pleads not guilty to nine charges of sexually assaulting girls aged between 11 and 18 at the school.
He is alleged to have struck three of the girls on the buttocks with drumsticks.
Another of the girls is also said to have been sexually assaulted in a vehicle on journeys within Perthshire and between Perthshire and Edinburgh.
A number of the girls are said to have been subjected to sexual remarks made by Clark.
He also faces nine alternative charges, alleging while the girls were pupils and he was an adult looking after them, he engaged in sexual activity with them or directed at them.
The alleged offences are said to have spanned a period from August 2011 to mid-February 2019.