Lifetime teaching ban for convicted sex pest

Joseph Kerr pictured before his court conviction.
Joseph Kerr pictured before his court conviction.

A CONVICTED sex offender, who molested two girls has been permanently banned from teaching.

Joseph Kerr, who has appeared in shows such as Emmerdale and A Touch of Frost, was formally barred from teaching in any UK school after a decision by education secretary Michael Gove.

Kerr, 50, from Fleetwood, received a suspended sentence after he was convicted of four offences of sexual assault on two female pupils at Preston Crown Court in January this year.

The court was told Kerr – who ran an acting school with his wife in the Blackpool area – pounced on his victims when he was supposed to be teaching Shakespeare.

One victim claimed Kerr had touched her indecently and said she looked gorgeous. She also said he had told her: “I just can’t resist you”.

The second victim, who was also a teenager, claimed the defendant groped her during an end-of-rehearsal hug, placing a hand between their bodies.

The offences took place between 2007 and 2009.

He was sentenced in February to three months’ imprisonment, suspended for 24 months, with a 12-month supervision requirement.

Kerr has now been issued with a prohibition order despite a Teaching Agency panel recommendation that Kerr should be allowed to apply to be put back on the teaching register after 10 years.

Recommending a prohibition order, the disciplinary panel said that it had “regard to the protection of children, the maintenance of public confidence in the profession and declaring and upholding proper standards of conduct”.

Alan Meyrick, Teaching Agency deputy director, who gave the final decision on the Secretary of State’s behalf, said: “Mr Kerr has four convictions for sexual assault.

“These offences were serious and took place in an educational context on several occasions.

“The panel has found this behaviour represents a serious departure from the standards expected of a teacher. Indeed the panel has made clear the offences constituted a serious departure from the personal and professional elements of the latest teacher’s standards published by the Department for Education.”

Mr Meyrick said the panel found the offences “amounted to misconduct that may have or did seriously affect the education and/or well being of the pupils concerned, include evidence of a deep-seated attitude leading to harmful behaviour and were serious sexual offences that led to the imposition of terms of imprisonment, albeit suspended.”

The decision means Kerr is prohibited from teaching indefinitely in any school, sixth form college, youth accommodation or children’s home in England.

Kerr has a right of appeal to the High Court.