Art teacher crawled under desks to assault students and gave girl ‘sexual’ kiss

An art teacher who sexually assaulted his pupils over an 11-year period has been locked up for eight months.

James Skelton Smith, 57, was a part-time teacher of expressive arts at a Dundee state school.

Smith would often drop his pencil in the classroom so he could crawl under the desks and assault students.

One older female pupil resorted to dropping out to escape Smith after he bombarded her with gifts and unwanted attention.

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On the girl’s last day at the school Smith followed the 17-year-old outside where he gave her a “quite sexual” French kiss.

He kissed her again and inappropriately touched her breast in an empty classroom when she came back to collect her exam results.

The court found Smith guilty of indecent assault, sexual assault, and breach of the peace after a trial.

He lost his job and will be placed on the sex offenders’ register for the next 10 years.

Sheriff John Rafferty said the assaults had been carried out when Smith was in “a position of trust and authority.”

He added: “You sought her out, befriended her, contacted her on social media, and gave her gifts before indecently assaulting her.”

The Sheriff said one victim now suffers from mental health issues and that Smith had shown “little or no remorse and understanding” of the impact of his actions.

He said: “In my considerable experience, it is not uncommon that persons who come before these courts have committed sexual offences at summary level are often not otherwise inclined to break the law.

“They may choose to offend as you have done for your own abhorrent purposes if they believe they may escape detection and punishment.”

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