April 2009

School pervert spared jail

A teacher who secretly filmed up women’s skirts and spied on female students in college toilets has walked free from court.

James Parke broke down sobbing in the dock as his obsessions were described at Lewes Crown Court.

Parke kept a library of more than 300 films and photographs including footage of students in the changing rooms and toilets at Brighton, Hove and Sussex Sixth Form College (BHASVIC), where he worked as a media studies teacher.

After the court was told Parke suffered from a sexual disorder, the judge ordered him to receive treatment rather than go to prison.

Parke, who admitted voyeurism and outraging public decency, was given a three-year community order. He will be supervised by the probation service and must attend a sex offenders’ programme.

The 40-year-old, of Kingscote Way, Brighton, filmed women and girls from September 2006 until he was caught in September last year.

He was eventually arrested after a store detective spotted him following young girls around Churchill Square in Brighton. He was carrying a bag with a secret camera he was using to film up women’s skirts.

When police searched a room at BHASVIC they found Parke had set up equipment in a cupboard that remotely stored pictures from a camera hidden in the toilets.

Oliver Dunkin, prosecuting, said: “He candidly admitted he would film the most attractive girls he could find between the ages of 14 and 30. He said he had voyeuristic tendencies.”

Mr Dunkin said none of the girls or women were aware they had been filmed.

As well as filming women and girls out shopping he had filmed students walking upstairs at the college.

After he was arrested Parke resigned from BHASVIC.

Ed Fish, defending, said: “He understands what he has done has been a grave breach of trust. He knows he will not be able to be a teacher again.”

Judge Anthony Scott-Gall warned Parke he would be jailed if he breached the community order.

Parke was also ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register for five years and banned from being alone with children under 18 and owning equipment which stores pictures.

BHASVIC principal Chris Thomson said: “Mr Parke was trusted by his students, their parents and by his colleagues. He betrayed that trust.”

Detective Inspector Chris Neilson, head of Sussex Police child protection unit, said: “It is a shocking crime. The key thing is he has been caught and brought before the courts.”

Anyone traumatised by Parke’s crimes or who needs support as a result can call the child protection team on            0845 6070999      .