Teacher caught up in controversy insists he is not a paedophile

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The Independent Online

A teacher caught up in the controversy over sex offenders has insisted that he is not a paedophile.

William Gibson, 59, was suspended from Portchester Boys' School in Bournemouth after the local authority became aware of his conviction for indecently assaulting a 15-year-old girl in 1980.

In an interview with a local newspaper, he said: "I am not a paedophile. I am not a risk to children. I want people to know that. I know what I did was wrong and I regret my actions, but it's not as black and white as everyone thinks. I hope people will come to the conclusion that I have never abused anyone."

Mr Gibson was fined £60 for the indecency offence. After the case, he resigned from the school, in Sunderland, and took other jobs.

He was jailed in 2000 for two years for fraud. After completing that sentence, he returned to teaching. He was removed from three schools in the North-east and was refused work by a supply agency which checked his details with the Criminal Records Bureau.

Last January he received a letter from the Department for Education and Skills. It said that the Education Secretary, Ruth Kelly, had reviewed the case and that, while his actions had been "unwise", he could return to teaching.

He had been working at Portchester School as a maths supply teacher intermittently since the beginning of last term.

Mr Gibson told the Bournemouth Echo: "This has all been hovering over me for years, but I love teaching and I think I have something to offer. I get on well with the kids. I want to get another job in teaching. I don't know if I will be able to, but I am not a person to give up.

"I did not anticipate I'd have a problem now because it was a long time ago and I had been given clearance by the Government. I was shocked on Saturday morning when I got a phone call from my agency."