A creative writing teacher from England was fired from his job and had to register as a sex offender after sending a young female student sexual messages and photos.
Thomas Stirling, 24, appeared in court Monday where he admitted to sending a 17-year-old student “sexually charged” messages after they read the erotic novel “Fifty Shades of Grey” together.
Stirling’s girlfriend at the time discovered the alarming texts and images on his cellphone. Stirling initially tried to cover things up by saying the inappropriate messages were nothing more than his attempt to compare the “grammar and content” of “Fifty Shades” to the dialogue in Shakespeare’s “MacBeth,” the Telegraph reported.
After Stirling’s girlfriend found more of his exchanges with the student on Instagram, she broke up with him and alerted the school he worked for. Stirling’s contract at Franklin College in Grimsby was immediately suspended.
The outlet reported that some of the messages Stirling sent to the unidentified teen referenced her virginity and described different sexual acts. The incident happened between September and November 2015.
Stirling has since got a job as a receptionist at a hotel and has put as much distance as possible between him and the victim, it was revealed in court. Patricia Doherty told the court that the former teacher knew his actions were “incredibly foolish.”
“He had some problems of his own in the past and foolishly and naively thought that he could help her,” she said. “He knows that he can’t go back into teaching at all. He has taken this job because it keeps him away from youngsters. He has put distance between himself and the girl.”
Judge Eric Elliot revealed that the student had been dealing with “personal and domestic problems” and went to Stirling for help. The judge said Stirling should have known better and ordered him to complete rehab. Stirling will also be registered on the sex offenders list for five years.
“You knew full well, bearing in mind you were a teacher in a position of trust, that you ought to go down that road,” the judge said.