A headteacher once hailed as a “visionary” was today jailed for eight years for taking the virginity of two under-age boys in the 1980s.
Anne Lakey, 55, from Stanley, County Durham, was convicted yesterday of 13 counts of indecent assault on a boy of 13 or 14 and another boy aged 15 over a three-year period following a trial at Teesside Crown Court.
She had been suspended from her role as chief executive of the Durham Federation, in charge of two secondary schools, since the younger complainant sent an accusing email in December 2012.
She was a national leader in education, lauded for improving the exam performance at her schools.
She oversaw a huge change at Fyndoune Community College in Sacriston, which had been failing.
It went on to be one of the most improved in the country and was rated as “outstanding”.
You corrupted two boys about half your age. They were naive and immature.Judge Howard Crowson
She was named in a Department for Education pamphlet as a “visionary leader”, described as “inspiring” by Sir Michael Wilshaw, the chief inspector of education.
But her respectable professional persona hid a sordid past.
While she was married to the second of three husbands, she groomed the younger victim, and he was encouraged to expose her breasts during a dare game at her home.
She let him watch her bathe, then took his virginity on the marital bed while he was still in his school uniform.
Lakey phoned the boy’s school when he was truanting, pretended to be his mother and said he was sick. She also encouraged him to call her “mommy”.
Meanwhile, she also took the older boy’s virginity in a tent at a camp in the middle of the night after she encouraged him to sneak over.
Lakey, a history and religious education teacher in Sunderland at the time of the allegations, went on to have repeated sexual relations with both boys.
She denied all the allegations but admitted having a legal, sexual relationship with the older complainant when he was 18 and she was in her early 30s.
Lakey rose up the career before taking on the chief executive role, but was exposed by the younger victim’s late night email which branded her a “disgusting sexual monster”.
Its author was furious after he spotted a blog in which she said her “raison d’etre” was to help young people.
He named the second complainant who was to later tell police he too had been abused.
In the witness box he described how the sexual exploitation by an older woman immediately left him confused.
“On the one hand, I was happy with my little self that I managed to lose my virginity before I was 16, which seemed really important at the time,” he said.
“On the other hand, everything was over so quickly. It should have been a bit more interesting than that.
“It was a bit of a confusing mix of emotions as I left the tent.”
When the police began investigating the younger complainant’s accusing email, Lakey rang him out of the blue to persuade him to lie to detectives.
He recalled: “The delivery was like A Level psychology 101. There was the initial ‘My poor father, lost my mother’ - a trump card to play.
“There was ‘my career, my daughter, my husband. I’ve definitely not had sex with any other children since’ was mentioned early on.
“It was laid on thick, emotionally at the start, towards the end there was flattery alongside that.”
Caroline Goodwin, prosecuting, asked how he felt about what happened to him.
“The phone call really summed up the whole thing,” he said.
“Here is somebody who has not spoken to me for 20 years who thought she could get me to pick up the phone and lie to the police, 20 years after.
“If that doesn’t give you an idea of the control she had over us lads, I don’t know what would.”
Judge Howard Crowson told Lakey: “You used subtle persuasion and flattery, encouraging each boy to take his first tentative sexual steps with you.”
He agreed that during her career she had been “an inspirational teacher and leader of schools”, adding: “By your efforts it is clear you have improved the lives of many young people.”
But, in the 1980s, the judge told her: “You corrupted two boys about half your age. They were naive and immature.”
The judge said he had seen a photo of the younger victim when he was 14, in which he appears to be a child, not a young man.
Tim Roberts QC, defending, said Lakey had received treatment for breast cancer in 2012 and would require ongoing care.
The judge said he was conscious of the effect the sentence would have on her family.
Lakey’s father, husband David and daughter Elanor were in the public gallery.
The judge added: “It will destroy the career you have worked so hard to build.
“You will find prison a particular hardship given the illness you have battled against.”
She mouthed: “I love you” to her family as she was led away.