Oct 2009

Jail for Canterbury teacher labelled a sexual predator by judge

A teacher who sexually assaulted a 19-year-old girl student at his flat and took lewd photographs of her after she fell asleep has been jailed.

Franck Zuffellato, 36, of All Saints’ Lane, Canterbury, indulged in what Judge James O’Mahony called deviant sexual activity.

This not only included his attack on the student but also downloading 4,000 indecent stills and film images of children, some of them in the most depraved category.

Zuffellato, said at a previous hearing to have worked at the University of Kent in Canterbury, also groomed another young girl over the internet by pretending to be a teenage boy and got her to send topless photos of herself to him.

He was convicted in August at Maidstone Crown Court of two charges of sexual assault. He admitted inciting a girl to engage in sexual activity and 10 charges of possessing indecent images of a child.

He was sentenced at Canterbury Crown Court on Monday and was told he would have to serve a minimum of four years.

The student had gone to Zuffellato’s flat because of a common interest in music. Zuffellato was described as sophisticated, intelligent and literate by the judge, who said the victim didn’t think anything awful would happen to her.

“At your flat she took drink and strong cannabis voluntarily but she became sick, stupified and unconscious. You then abused her appallingly, ” said Judge O’Mahony.

“A particular aggravating feature is that you took intimate photographs of her,” he said.

Zuffellato could have spared her the ordeal of those pictures having to be shown to the court had he pleaded guilty.

The judge recognised how well Zuffellato was doing in prison but said: “The conclusion is that you are dangerous and a sexual predator.”

Pamela Brain, for Zuffellato, said he fully recognised the seriousness of his behaviour and had grave regrets about the way he’d behaved. There were no offences prior to these and he had lived a perfectly normal life.

Zuffellato will be subject of a sex offences prevention order for 10 years and on the sex offenders’ register indefinitely. The court directed 369 days served on remand count towards the sentence.