Former Sunderland school counsellor faces jail over child sex offences

Shiney Row Primary School
Shiney Row Primary School
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A COUNSELLOR who worked at a Wearside primary school is facing prison after admitting to a string of sickening child sex offences.

Paedophile Robert Fothergill, who had been employed by Shiney Row Primary School on a temporary contract, was arrested as part of an investigation by North Yorkshire Police probe into child protection earlier this year.

The 46-year-old of White Lands, in Richmond, North Yorkshire, appeared at Teesside Crown Court last week and pleaded guilty to a number of offences.

They include causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, sexual assault of a child, distributing indecent images of children, possessing indecent images, and attempting to cause or incite a child to engage in sexual activity. Fothergill’s crimes were uncovered after police probed the online activity of another paedophile - and found he had been in contact with Fothergill.

None of the incidents relate to his time working at Shiney Row.

Stunned parents of children at the South View School were informed of Fothergill’s initial arrest by North Yorkshire Police in a letter from management last month.

Written by headteacher Paul Ashton, the letter sent out to parents read: “I am writing to make you aware that Mr Robert Fothergill, who was employed by the school on a temporary part-time contract, is currently the subject of a multi-agency child protection investigation led by North Yorkshire Police.

“There is no evidence that any incidents have taken place in this school or the Sunderland area.”

Mr Ashton added: “The safeguarding of children is our highest priority and I want to reassure you that all appropriate child protection procedures and safeguards are followed at the school at all times to ensure the safety and welfare of your children.”

As a counsellor, Fothergill worked with a number of schools across the North East including in Richmond and Catterick Garrison, in North Yorkshire, and Wolsingham, in County Durham.

Fothergill, who was remanded in custody after admitting the crimes, will be sentenced on Tuesday, June 9, after reports have been prepared on him by a psychiatrist and the Probation Service.