Leeds & West Yorkshire

Teacher cleared of sex assault at West Yorkshire school banned

A primary school teacher has been banned from teaching more than a year after he was cleared of sexually assaulting five boys.

Brendan O'Brien, 47, from Barnsley, South Yorkshire, was acquitted of 18 charges at Leeds Crown Court in 2015.

He has now been found guilty of unacceptable conduct while teaching at a school in Kirklees, West Yorkshire.

Mr O'Brien was not present at the panel hearing of the National College for Teaching.

'Tactile teacher'

The panel, which was acting on behalf of the Secretary of State for Education, found he engaged in inappropriate behaviour or conduct that may bring the profession into disrepute.

It was alleged he showed favouritism to one or more pupils by touching them inappropriately and that some of his behaviour was sexually motivated.

In January 2015, Mr O'Brien had denied 17 charges of sexual assault and one of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

He told the panel in response to these allegations: "I have always stated that I was a tactile teacher and freely admit that I would put my hand on the knee of pupils in a variety of contexts".

It was decided Mr O'Brien would be banned from teaching indefinitely and now cannot teach in any school, sixth form college, relevant youth accommodation or children's home in England.

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