Febuary 2012

Teacher Andrew Beattie jailed over pupil sex assaults

A biology teacher from the Borders who sexually assaulted two male pupils has been jailed for 16 months.

Andrew Beattie’s offending came to light when he was arrested in May 2010 after more than 1,300 indecent images of children were found on his computer.

The victims then came forward to report the assaults, which happened while Beattie was working at Selkirk High School in the 1990s.

A sheriff said they had been a “gross breach of trust and abuse of power.”

He added: “You must understand the public revulsion that a teacher should possess such images.”

Jedburgh Sheriff Court was told 62-year-old Beattie, of Longhope Drive, Hawick, had been the victim of sexual abuse in the past and had a “lifelong interest in pubescent boys”.

He had previously pleaded guilty to having the indecent images of children at his home.

He also admitted indecently assaulting a 14-year-old boy while working as a teacher at the secondary school between April and August 1991 and performing a sex act on a 15-year-old male pupil between April 1995 and May 1996.

Defence advocate Shelagh McCall said the prospect of a prison sentence had been hanging over Beattie for the two years since the pornography was found at his home.

She said: “The proceedings in court have lasted an unusually long time. He has suffered a great deal of anxiety and stress and ill health.”

Ms McCall said it was an “unusual case” which called for an unusual disposal by way of a community-based sentence as an alternative to prison.

She described how experts had rated the prospects of Beattie re-offending as “relatively low”.

She said he was “determined” not to commit a similar offence again and was “deeply ashamed” of his actions.

However, Sheriff Donald Corke imposed jail sentences of 16 months and eight months respectively for the indecent assaults as well as four months for the indecent images – all sentences to run concurrently.

He also imposed an extended sentence of three years and four months to provide supervision after Beattie was released from prison, and recommended to Scottish Ministers that he was unsuitable to work with children.

Beattie was also put on the sex offenders register for 10 years.