Belfast Telegraph

PSNI probes female teacher's relationship with Antrim schoolboy

By Nevin Farrell

Police have launched an investigation into a shock allegation that a female teacher at a Co Antrim Catholic secondary school has been involved in an "inappropriate relationship" with a male pupil.

The claim has rocked St Benedict's College in Randalstown.

A PSNI spokesman said: "Police have been made aware of allegations relating to a teacher who has worked at a school in the Randalstown area.

"Officers are in the process of gathering information in relation to the matter and it would not be appropriate to comment further at this stage." At the school the phone was not being answered yesterday when the Belfast Telegraph called.

A spokesman for the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS) later said it was commenting on behalf of the school.

"As this is a matter currently in the hands of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, we (CCMS) have no comment to make," he said.

The Antrim Guardian newspaper reported this week the female teacher had been suspended over the allegation.

The paper said it was understood the teacher was married with children and allegedly had been involved in a "relationship" with the boy for several months.

It was reported the matter was brought before school principal Sean McAuley last month and the teacher was suspended pending an investigation.

The mixed sex school in Randalstown caters for pupils aged from 11 to 16.

The Antrim Guardian said it was understood that the teacher and her husband were currently living apart.

It reported that a reliable source claimed that the teacher was still in contact with the student and said it was understood that the families of both the teacher and the pupil had been "torn apart by the news", and were attempting to keep the pair separated.

While the age of the pupil has not been publicly confirmed, the age of consent is 16. But under the 2008 Sexual Offences Order it is illegal for anyone in a position of trust or authority to engage in sexual activity with a person under the age of 18. The offence can carry a jail term of up to five years.

In a message on the school's website, the principal states: "In our College we strive to promote the personal potential and uniqueness of each young person through high quality teaching and learning."

St Benedict's was created through an amalgamation of St Olcan's in Randalstown and St Malachy's in Antrim town.

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