Computer science teacher cleared of groping 14-year-old pupil

Computer science teacher, 54, wept in court after being cleared of groping a 14-year-old pupil for a ‘sexual thrill’ in front of her classmates during lesson

  • Stephen Kenyon, 54, was accused of touching a schoolgirl’s breast in class
  • Computer science teacher from Dibden Purlieu, Hampshire, was cleared today
  • He wept as a jury unanimously cleared him of the single charge of sexual assault

A secondary school teacher wept today as he was cleared of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old pupil by touching her breast during a lesson.

Stephen Kenyon, 54, a computer science teacher from Dibden Purlieu, Hampshire, was accused of putting his fingertips on the schoolgirl’s breast for a ‘sexual thrill’ in a ‘deliberate transgression’.

Kenyon sobbed loudly as a jury unanimously cleared him of the single charge of sexual assault at Southampton Crown Court, Hampshire.

He had vehemently denied touching his pupil and told the trial ‘I certainly wouldn’t harm a young girl in any way, shape or form’.

He said he had ‘no idea’ why the girl would accuse him of touching her, or why she ‘burst into tears’ after leaving his lesson. 

Nicholas Tucker, prosecuting, told the trial: ‘[The alleged victim] was in Mr Kenyon’s class working at a computer. 

Stephen Kenyon, 54, a computer science teacher, was alleged to have placed his fingertips on the schoolgirl’s breast for a ‘sexual thrill’ in a ‘deliberate transgression’

‘Just before the lunch break Mr Kenyon came over, ostensibly to check her work.

‘Standing behind her, he put his left hand under her left arm and round her side so his fingertips were touching the side of her breast.

‘His hand remained there for several seconds. He asked her if she was OK and then he walked away.

‘No teacher would touch a pupil like the way she says he did unless it was a deliberate transgression designed to get a sexual thrill.’

Jurors were played a video interview with the alleged victim, in which she said: ‘He came around to check on my work and when he got to me he stopped and he put his hand around my side, under my arm and round to the front so his fingertips were against my bra, against my breast.

‘I turned to my friend to tell her what had happened because I was upset. We didn’t really talk for the rest of the lesson because I was nervous and uncomfortable. She noticed I was upset.

‘At lunch I saw my friend and I started crying. I was crying and shaking for the rest of lunch.

‘I went to my last lesson… I couldn’t really focus, I didn’t eat my lunch because I was too upset.’

She said she had lessons with Kenyon several times a week and was ‘kind of uncomfortable around him because he was over friendly’.

Kenyon, who has a nine year old son and stepchildren aged 17 and 22, insisted he never touched the pupil.

He told the court: ‘I certainly don’t lean over a student. What I have done my whole working life is pull up a chair and if I can’t do that then I crouch down next to them.

‘I noticed that [the alleged victim] seemed to be struggling with her work so I said ‘Do you want any help?’ and she said yes.’

The schoolgirl told jurors at Southampton Crown Court (pictured) she didn’t want to tell any other teachers what had happened until she had spoken to her mother after school

He said he asked the girl and the girl sitting to her left to ‘budge up’ so he could crouch down between them, holding onto the chair leg of the girl on the left to support himself while he operated the alleged victim’s keyboard and mouse with his right hand.

Kenyon told the court he helped her then stood back up and moved on, never touching the girl or any other pupil in any way.

Asked if he would describe himself as over-friendly, he said: ‘I wouldn’t say over-friendly, I’m just a friendly person. I love my job. I might talk a little bit too much.’

He added that it would be ‘completely inappropriate’ to touch a pupil and that ‘as far as I’m aware, I had no physical contact with her or any other pupil… I can’t rule out that I accidentally touched her but I don’t think that’s the case and certainly not in that way’.

He told the jury: ‘I don’t want to call anyone a liar, she believes what she believes, but I know that I have not touched her and I certainly have not touched her intentionally.’

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