Glasgow & West Scotland

Music teacher Stephen Birch jailed for sex abuse of boy

A teacher who sexually assaulted a 13-year-old pupil during a piano lesson has been jailed for three years.

Stephen Birch attacked the teenage boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, while they played Christmas duets at his home in Glasgow in December 2011.

The 53-year-old later pleaded guilty to sexual assault and possessing indecent images of children.

At the High Court in Edinburgh, Birch was also told he will be supervised for four years after his release.

Passing sentence, judge Lord Bracadale told Birch that he had been in a position of trust and that he had abused his responsibilities towards his victim.

'Serious charge'

He added: "You have pleaded guilty to a serious charge. You are assessed at a high risk of re-offending against young boys. I am going to impose an extended sentence.

"The custodial part will be three years. The supervision will be for four."

Birch pleaded guilty to the charged against him at an earlier hearing at the High Court in Glasgow.

Prosecution lawyer Shirley McKenna told the court that Birch, who lives in the Partick area of Glasgow, had known his victim for several years.

Ms McKenna said that the teenager was "scared" and "in shock" after Birch assaulted him.

The court heard that after being abused, Birch told him that he would see him the following week.

Ms McKenna added: "The complainer left the accused's flat. On his way home, he walked past a phone box and went into it. He thought about phoning 999 but decided against it.

"He described the situation that he found himself in as 'weird' and he felt scared.

Childline call

"The complainer arrived home at about half past six and he phoned Childline at 6.44pm. He was on the phone to them for just over an hour."

The court heard he told the operator at Childline what had happened.

Ms McKenna said: "He was extremely upset on the phone. He didn't want to tell his mum what had happened but gave permission for Childline to phone his mum and tell her."

The court heard that Birch was arrested by police on 7 December 2011.

Officers then found hundreds of indecent images of children on his computer and phone.

Detectives then discovered that he had previous convictions for indecency and lewd and libidinous behaviour against young boys.

Police also discovered that Birch had worked at the private Glasgow Steiner School.

In 2000, he was asked to undertake a check which would have revealed that he had previous convictions for indecency against young boys.

Birch refused but was stayed at the school until 2004.

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