A Fife teacher accused of attempting to meet a teenage girl for sex at a Travelodge told police things he said online were “just a fantasy”.
Religious education teacher Iain Parkinson, 56, is this week appearing before a General Teaching Council for Scotland panel after being snared by undercover police who engaged with him on the Fabswingers website.
Mr Parkinson, from Corstorphine in Edinburgh, faces being struck off but maintains he is still fit to teach.
In an online chat, he believed he was messaging someone called Lisa Brown when he made references to engaging in sexual activity with a 14-year-old girl.
“Lisa Brown” was actually an undercover detective and Mr Parkinson was detained after police caught up with him at an arranged rendezvous point, at the Travelodge in Falkirk, on May 31, 2016.
He was investigated after the cyber unit uncovered a conversation he had engaged in online relating to bestiality involving a dog.
A witness statement from a police officer who interviewed Mr Parkinson said when asked if he was aware of any child who had been at risk of harm or abuse, the teacher replied what he had been saying was “just a fantasy”.
Darren Wapplington from teachers’ union NASUWT told the hearing it was accepted as fact Mr Parkinson had engaged in an inappropriate online conversation between May 25 and May 30, 2016.
However, Mr Parkinson maintains he did not turn up at the Travelodge with the intention of engaging in sexual activity with an under-age girl.
Police who searched Mr Parkinson at the Travelodge discovered condoms in his car and on his person.
Mr Wapplington asked a police officer who attended the Travelodge: “Would you say that having condoms in your car or on your person is evidence of an intent to engage in a criminal activity?”
The witness responded “no”.
Officers, including members of the cyber crime team, turned up at Mr Parkinson’s workplace, Kirkcaldy High School, on June 10, 2016.
After analysing his work computer they discovered “nothing of note”.
A police witness said in a statement read to the panel: “The head teacher said he was an RE teacher and had been involved in a lot of trips, and was well thought of at the school.”
Mr Parkinson was arrested and charged but the trial was dropped after a sheriff said he had been a victim of entrapment.
A subsequent Crown appeal was refused by Lord Carloway.
The panel heard evidence from the appeal document “there was no evidence that the respondent had ever expressed any interest in sexual activity with children.”