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Teacher sentenced for sexual offences against student at West Sussex independent school

A teacher who committed sexual offences against a female student while both were at a West Sussex independent school has been given a two-year prison sentence.

Aaron Gardner, 32, now of Ashdown Close, Malvern, Worcs, was sentenced at Hove Crown Court on Friday 17 September, having previously pleaded guilty to six counts of abusing his role of being in a position of trust, to incite the girl, then aged under 18, to engage in sexual activity with him more than seven years ago. Both were at Hurstpierpoint College at the time.

Gardner will be a registered sex offender for ten years, and was given a Sexual Harm Prevention Order, also to last for ten years, severely restricting his access to children. He is also banned from working with children indefinitely.

Detective Constable Kirstie Prentice of the West Sussex Safeguarding Investigations Unit said; "The victim reported the offending to us two years ago when she became aware that Gardner was still teaching, although by then he was at another school outside Sussex.

"We found that he had abused his position over a period of time when she was vulnerable, and took advantage of this for his own gratification until she left the College.

"We had full co-operation from the College management throughout the investigation and there is no evidence that any other students were at risk from Gardner, who had left the College some years ago and no longer works in teaching.

"We always encourage victims of sexual offending to contact us, whatever the circumstances, so that we can investigate and can also give access to sources of specialist advice and support."

For further information on reporting sexual offences, see the Sussex Police website.


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