Teacher jailed for sending obscene messages to pupils

A TEACHER at a Kent secondary school, who sent obscene messages to two 16-year-old sixth-formers in a bid to lure them into having sex with him, has been jailed for 16 months.

Joe Cornwall, 29, from Crowhurst, who was a PE teacher at Angley School in Cranbrook, had previously been granted bail but had already been warned after he pleaded guilty at Maidstone Crown Court in January that he faced jail.

And as he put Cornwall, of Forewood Rise, behind bars last week, Judge Charles Macdonald QC told him he had lost his teaching career and that this was of his own doing.

Passing sentence he told Cornwall: “You are, in my judgment, a person with unresolved motivation for sexual activity.

“You seem to have some kind of compulsion to send sexually explicit messages to women while dating other women.”

The judge said that although one of the girls had actually instigated contact this was no excuse for the way Cornwall had behaved and that in those circumstances he had to follow sentencing guidelines and jail him.

He said the actions of the girl were “the sort of thing that young females do” and that the law was there to protect them from their own actions as well as the actions of those such as Cornwall.

He said that although the girl had sent messages to Cornwall he had “responded inappropriately.”

He continued: “I accept some of the messages were of an innocent and non-sexual nature.

“But they were utterly inappropriate for man of nearly 30 sent to females of this age.”

Cornwall had pleaded guilty to three charges of inciting two teenage girl pupils to engage in sexual activity with him.

The offences took place between September and December 2010.

Prosecutor, Keith Yardy, told the court that one of the girls had instigated contact with Cornwall by sending a request for him to become a friend on Facebook.

Initially he had told her that such contact should not take place between them.

Later though, said Mr Yardy, after general chat on Facebook he had asked her if she wanted to meet up with him for “fun.”

And, said the prosecutor, his messages then became increasingly explicit and he had talked of performing a sex act on the girl and a friend at the same time.

Photographs, including topless pictures, were exchanged between the pair.

Some text messages sent to the second girl were also sexually explicit.

Cornwall’s counsel, Crispian Cartwright, told the judge that the career that had taken Cornwall years to build up was now “absolutely blasted.”

“As a result of his folly, everything he has built up is wrecked,” he said.

Mr Cartwright said that from the nature of what Cornwall had done – and he did not realise what he was doing was illegal - it was obvious that a probation report which described him as being young for his age and immature was correct.

He told the judge that Cornwall had virtually forgotten that he was not a contemporary of the girls and had tried to appear as a “cool and not a stuffy figure.”

Mr Cartwright also rounded on Facebook and the way young people use it.

He branded the Facebook and text messages sent by young people today as “grotesque” but said they were part of the culture of today’s young people.

In addition to the jail sentence the judge also ordered that Cornwall must sign on the sex offenders register for the next ten years and banned him from working with children.