Private school teacher remanded in custody charged with child sexual offences

Private school teacher remanded in custody charged with child sexual offences

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John Wunderle, 34, taught at the £15,000-a-year Bancroft’s School in Woodford Green, Essex. According to the Daily Mail, he was on bail for ‘grooming’ in relation to a 15-year-old girl, when she was seen in the back of his car. The Mail reports he then attempted to drive away but was subsequently arrested.

The offences

The Mail say: “He faces two charges of engaging in sexual activity with a minor and two of inciting a minor into sexual activity.” which, whilst not entirely accurate, is not a bad effort at getting the law correct.

The offences appear to be as follows:

s.9 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003:

Sexual activity with a child

(1) A person aged 18 or over (A) commits an offence if—

(a) he intentionally touches another person (B),

(b) the touching is sexual, and

(c) either—

(i) B is under 16 and A does not reasonably believe that B is 16 or over, or

(ii) B is under 13.

s.10 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003:

Causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity

(1) A person aged 18 or over (A) commits an offence if—

(a) he intentionally causes or incites another person (B) to engage in an activity,

(b) the activity is sexual, and

(c) either—

(i) B is under 16 and A does not reasonably believe that B is 16 or over, or

(ii) B is under 13.

Maximum sentences

The maximum sentence for both offences is 14 years’ imprisonment.

Grooming

The Mail’s report stated that he was on bail for grooming. In fact there is no such offence. The offence is actually ‘Meeting a child following sexual grooming etc.’ and is an offence under s.15 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

The reason we say there is no offence is grooming is because for the offence to be completed, either the adult, or the child must travel with the intention of the other, following at least two communications between them. Essentially, the offence is the meeting (or travelling with the intention to meet) – not the actual communication with a view to committing a sexual act.

Although we have no information, it would appear that this has not been taken any further.

Remand and trial date

Already on remand, John Wunderle was again refused bail and therefore remained in custody. There will be another hearing on 20 October 2014 where he will be invited to enter a plea. A provisional trial date has been set for 15 December 2014.

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