Teacher filmed children in changing room

A TEACHER who sneaked a video camera into a Suffolk leisure centre and took close-up images of naked children in the changing rooms has escaped a jail term.

A TEACHER who sneaked a video camera into a Suffolk leisure centre and took close-up images of naked children in the changing rooms has escaped a jail term.

Anthony Dunne, 37, pleaded guilty to seven counts of taking indecent photos of boys and girls, aged between nine and 14 years old, as they got changed at Felixstowe Leisure Centre.

A computer at Dunne's home was also analysed and found pseudo images of the head of a famous child actress superimposed on a girl's body.

The teacher said he had taken the photos as part of his sex education classes he taught at Langer Primary School, Felixstowe, but Robert Sadd , prosecuting, said it was the Crown's case that the images were taken for Dunne's own "sexual gratification".

Bury St Edmunds Crown Court heard the defendant went to Felixstowe Leisure Centre with a concealed video camera and took pictures of children in a state of undress.

Mr Sadd said Dunne, of Ferry Road, Felixstowe, took pictures of four children who were naked while three other youngsters were in swimsuits.

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Dunne, the prosecution claimed, had focused on various private areas of the children and in some cases had paused the camera and then ran the film in slow motion.

The tape had featured both boys and girls, some as young as nine years old, as they got dressed and undressed.

Mr Sadd: "Every time a teacher does something like this, it undermines the confidence of every parent in the safety of their children. But it was clear from the video that this was not part of any organised school trip."

Caroline Bryant, defending, said: "My client has been described by his headmaster as a good teacher and strong in the classroom.

"Also, those who know him and employed him in the past all describe him as committed, caring and an effective teacher of children.

"He accepts fully what he did was wrong and he takes full responsibility for it. He knows full well his career as a teacher is over."

Sparing Dunne from a possible custodial sentence, Judge John Holt said: "The defendant has put forward an explanation for this behaviour relating to his teacher of sex education but I think this is manifestly wrong.

"You have been a dedicated teacher but that career is now clearly coming to an end."

Dunne was sentenced to a three-year community rehabilitation order with a special condition to attend a sex offender group work programme.

He was also given a lifetime ban from working with children, made to sign the sex offender's register for five years and ordered to pay £850 prosecution costs and his subsequent defence costs.

Judge Holt also made a confiscation order on all the tapes and computers.

After the case, a spokesman for Suffolk County Council, on behalf of Langer Primary School, confirmed that Dunne was still employed by the school.

But he added: "We take cases of this sort very seriously and regard the safety and wellbeing of children of paramount importance.

"Since the matter first came to light, the school and the LEA have taken appropriate action and Mr Dunne has not been allowed to teach whilst the case was ongoing.

"We can assure parents that the offences committed do not relate to any work undertaken by Mr Dunne as a teacher at the school.

"We will now be taking the appropriate action."

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