Monday 25 March 2019

Head teacher given community order after she was found with indecent images of girl

Rhian DeSouza Photo: BBC/Facebook
Rhian DeSouza Photo: BBC/Facebook Newsdesk Newsdesk

A headmistress has been given a community order after she was found with indecent selfies sent by a teenage girl.

Rhian Desouza, 43, received two pictures from the girl who had sent them over the social media app Snapchat.

A court heard on Friday while it would have been lawful for the pair to have been in a sexual relationship, it was a criminal offence for an adult to possess and indecent images of a person aged below 18.

Desouza was headteacher at Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Gellionnen primary school in Swansea when she began the relationship with the teen, who had not been a pupil of hers.

Prosecutor Carina Hughes told Swansea Crown Court the girl's mother found text messages on her daughter's phone between her and Desouza and alerted police.

Desouza was arrested and officers seized her Samsung smartphone, where they managed to retrieve two revealing photos of the girl sent between May and June this year.

The photos were only found using specialist software as they had been deleted from the phone, either automatically or by Desouza herself.

Miss Hughes said: "They appeared to be selfie images, possibly sent over the Snapchat app."

Desouza, a mother-of-two, answered no comment in her interview but later pleaded guilty to two counts of making an indecent image of a child under 18.

The teenage victim's mother told the court in a statement her daughter was now a "shadow of her former self" after the police involvement.

The mother said: "She (Desouza) prioritised her own sexual gratification over the needs of our daughter.

"If you cannot trust a teacher, then who can you trust?"

Georgina Buckley, defending, said Desouza had lost "not only her profession but her vocation" after being told she would not be able to work with children again.

Judge Paul Thomas QC described the case as "unique" and "unusual".

The judge said: "The girl was not under the age of consent.

"However this is not a court of morals, but a court of law."

Desouza, from Five Roads, Llanelli, West Wales, was sentenced to a two-year community order.

She was made to sign the sex offenders' register for five years, and given a sexual harm prevention order which bans her from using social media under another name.

Press Association

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