Posts tagged ‘Jeremy Forrest’

Isn’t it a bit late?

I am no fan of Sally Bercow, considering her to be someone who has done little in life but engage in shameless self-promotion, but her latest ‘gaffe’ has left me more bemused with the law than with her.

Bercow, already on a list of those who wrongly named or linked former senior Tory Lord McAlpine to child abuse claims, sent a message on Monday night to her 60,000 followers on Twitter asking what happened to the teacher, Jeremy Forrest, 30, and reportedly naming the girl.

[…]

In the initial stages of dealing with his case, the court made a section 39 order under the Children and Young Persons Act 1933, banning identification of the girl.

My question, for any lawyers who might be reading, is, given that her name was plastered all over the media for the 10 days or so after she eloped with Forrest, why bother with secrecy now? It’s not as if we don’t know who she is…

Young love

As we know from that bit of the media which isn’t still raking over the Andrew Mitchell non-story and the waste of time which was the Liberal Democrat party conference, a 15-year-old girl has eloped to France with her maths teacher.

Cue much wailing as well as pleas for her to come home and him to give himself up.

As she is under 16 the word ‘paedophile’ as well as various slang terms have been used online, if not by the media. It is, of course, the wrong word to use as she is, in terms of sexual development anyway, mature. If the teacher really does prefer partners in this stage of life then the term is ‘ephebophile’.

A teenage girl being attracted to an older male is not a story. As a general rule they tend to prefer older boys and men simply because the boys of their own age are usually behind them on the maturity curve.

Given then that developing teenage girls in the UK (and the developed world) tend to spend a significant part of their lives in schools and that schools will likely have at any one time several young-ish male teachers, it doesn’t take a genius to realise that sometimes the object of a girl’s affections will be her teacher.

Most of the time it will remain just a crush, one that the teacher may well be unaware of, and will go nowhere. There are times though when it will go further and I’d be surprised if there is a secondary or upper school in the land in which a relationship between a pupil and a teacher hasn’t taken place at some point.

I can think of one definite example from my days in the sixth-form* attached to my secondary school and there were persistent rumours about one of our humanities teachers*** involving a number of female pupils. In neither case, to the best of my knowledge, was any action taken against the teachers concerned.

Some will rail about the age of consent and how, because the law has imposed a legal age of 16, sexual congress with anyone under this age is an issue whilst waiting until the day of their 16th birthday isn’t. What they forget is that they themselves were young once and that the idea of the law telling you on which day you were able to make the beast of two backs with your partner may well have been as meaningless to you as the laws about when you could drink and/or smoke. Or perhaps, depending on personal preference, even the laws surrounding narcotics today.

Indeed the Telegraph has reported that the French police aren’t actively looking for her because the age of consent on the other side of the Channel is 15 and thus there is no crime taking place.

(Across Europe the age of consent is generally between 14 and 17 years of age, with the outliers being Spain at 13 and Turkey at 18.)

The sin in such circumstances is not that girls involved are 14 or 15 but that the teachers, who are In loco parentis, breached the trust placed in them by the families of the pupils and their employer.

By involving himself so comprehensively with Megan Stammers, Jeremy Forrest has destroyed whatever life he might otherwise have hoped to build in the UK. Assuming he does come back to these shores he can look forward to a criminal record, an entry on the sex offenders register, potentially some gaol time and the inability to ever work or act as a volunteer in any position which requires a CRB check to be performed. And, I would suspect, speedy divorce from his jilted wife.

Megan, who is unlikely to be an entirely innocent party, will likely get away scot-free.

* We were both going through 6th form together and he was one of our maths teachers. Barely out of university himself, he was no more than 8 years older than us and the relationship between the two of them ran for a couple of years or so. The first that the rest of the students knew about it was when we were in pub celebrating the end of our lower-sixth** and they spent a reasonable part of the night tonsil tickling. We certainly didn’t tell anyone about it and they kept it discrete (he didn’t show up on the 18th birthday party circuit for example). She showed up at my 18th wearing an engagement ring whilst only 17 herself at the time (she was the only person in the year younger than me IIRC) and my mum pestered me for sometime to say who it was. I eventually told her after my younger brother left the school 3 years later.

** Obviously none of us were 18 but we were all drinking and no-one was asked for ID.

*** The closest I got to the truth was over a beer with a mutual friend some years later when I found out tha he’d got married. Jokingly asked if it was to one of his former pupils, my friend smiled and said no.