A Fife religious education teacher accused of plotting to meet a 14-year-old girl for sex has been struck off and banned from trying to re-enter the profession for two years.
A General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) panel imposed the sanctions on Iain Parkinson, 56, after a week-long hearing which found he had turned up at a Travelodge in Falkirk on May 31, 2016, with the intention of engaging in sexual activity with an underage girl.
Parkinson, who taught RE and classics at Kirkcaldy High School, faced criminal charges following online exchanges on the Fabswingers website with an undercover police officer.
Those were dropped after lawyers successfully argued Parkinson had been the victim of entrapment.
However, the case has now called before the relevant teaching regulatory body, which has now curtailed his career.
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 a dog.
But his claim that he had arranged to meet the woman at the Travelodge to “protect that child” was rejected by panel members who have now ruled he is unfit to teach.
At the conclusion of the hearing on Friday morning, convener Arthur Stewart told Parkinson he would be prohibited from making an application for GTCS re-registration for a period of two years.
Friday’s proceedings were essentially a formality after Parkinson admitted to the panel on Thursday that it was impossible for him to continue teaching.
“I’ve given the majority of my adult life to working for young people, furthering their chances. I have some pride in that,” Parkinson said.
“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.”
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.
Graphic content from Mr Parkinson’s online exchange was read out during the hearing.
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.”