A regulatory body has ruled that a Fife teacher plotted to meet a 14-year-old girl for sex.
Appearing before a General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) panel, 56-year-old Iain Parkinson maintained that after chatting to someone on the Fabswingers website about depraved sexual acts with a 14-year-old girl he arranged to meet them at the Travelodge in Falkirk to “protect that child”.
He had actually been messaging undercover police, who caught up with him at the hotel and discovered condoms and lubricant in his car.
The criminal case against him was dropped after a sheriff determined he had been a victim of entrapment but the GTCS panel upheld an allegation that he had turned up at the Travelodge on May 31, 2016, with the intention of engaging in sexual activity with an underage girl.
Teacher resigns from profession
Mr Parkinson stood by his statement that he did not go to the Travelodge with any intention of having sexual activity with a 14-year-old.
But he said it was impossible for him to continue teaching after being found guilty of the allegations.
“I’ve given the majority of my adult life to working for young people, furthering their chances. I have some pride in that,” said Mr Parkinson.
“But I can’t say there’s a credible case to continue as I’ve been found to be guilty of these things.
“We’re not going to contest anything from this point. I would like to thank the young people of Fife for the 20 years it has been a privilege to work for them.”
Despite Mr Parkinson’s decision to step down from teaching, the panel will still deliver a final decision on Friday, when he is expected to be deemed unfit to teach.
Solicitor Drew Long, the presenting officer in the case, said: “Mr Parkinson has tried to tell a story about trying to conduct some sort of sting operation to protect a vulnerable child, and I say it is important and that the panel can take into account the fact there is simply no evidence for this whatsoever.”
Mr Parkinson trained as a teacher after graduating with a theology degree from St Andrews University.
He was a religious education and classics teacher at Kirkcaldy High School until his resignation in June 2016, shortly after his arrest.
Mr Parkinson previously told the hearing that he had been using the Fabswingers site for “quite a long time”.
Parkinson claimed he was taking part in ‘sting’
Mr Long said: “He’s told the panel that he reported multiple users for inappropriate use of the Fabswingers website in the past, and yet for some reason he’s unable to provide any coherent explanation of why he didn’t simply report this user.”
Graphic content from Mr Parkinson’s online exchange was read out during the hearing.
“In my submission the level of vulgarity and the language used goes far beyond what would be necessary for what Mr Parkinson says was his intended purpose,” said Mr Long.
“If Mr Parkinson wanted to engage in some form of sting operation, and truly found this abhorrent, there was no need for the language to go as far as it did.”
Mr Parkinson had already accepted he took part in an inappropriate online conversation between May 25 and 30, 2016, where he made references to engaging in sexual activity with a 14-year-old girl and committing bestiality with a dog.
Representing Mr Parkinson at the hearing, Darren Wapplington said the teacher’s explanation for why he turned up at the Travelodge had been “consistent throughout”.
He said: “Mr Parkinson has been honest that he was on Fabswingers for adulterous purposes.
“That’s been referred to as evidence of intent to have sex with a 14-year-old girl. They are two entirely different things.
“If each teacher who had or considered, or had been engaged in adulterous activity was in front of a GTCS panel, we would have a significant teaching crisis.”