Fife teacher accused of teenage sex conspiracy told panel “my intention was to protect this child”
A teacher from Fife accused of arranging a sexual encounter with a teenage girl told a panel he was trying to protect a potential child victim.
Religious education teacher Iain Parkinson, 56, showed up at the Travelodge in Falkirk, expecting to meet a couple he was chatting with on the Fabswingers website, before being handcuffed by plainclothes police.
Officers who searched Mr. Parkinson found condoms and tubes of lubricant in his vehicle.
It followed what Mr Parkinson described as a ‘horrific’ online exchange with an undercover agent that referred to sexual activity with a 14-year-old girl.
Mr Parkinson told a panel of the General Teaching Council for Scotland, which will decide whether to be struck off, that he was trying to trap a potential child molester.
Instead, he ended up being trapped himself.
“I wanted to know if these were really people doing something, and not just people talking about horrible things,” he told the panel.
“My intention was to protect this child.
Mr Parkinson resigned his post at Kirkcaldy High School in June 2016, shortly after his arrest.
He said: “I was trying to do a good thing and it went wrong in a stupid and spectacular way, potentially bringing a huge amount of embarrassment to the school, although ultimately not in the sense that they were harboring an evil pervert. who stalked the halls, because that’s not who I am at all.
Mr Parkinson was asked why he had not reported the matter to the police when the online conversation started to refer to illegal acts.
“I didn’t want to get out of the low-profile Fabswinger reporting system, really because unless I had absolute proof that it was really something horrible happening to someone real, I didn’t. ‘Was not ready to easily admit being on Fabswingers, cheating on my wife, ditching my family, ”he said.
“It’s not particularly admirable, I know, but I didn’t want to break the blanket without being sure.”
The panel learned that Mr Parkinson had obtained a theological degree from the University of St Andrews before becoming a teacher in the mid-1990s.
Taking religious education and classics classes, Mr. Parkinson has already been voted “most accessible teacher” by students and is committed to helping students from disadvantaged backgrounds access university.
He told the hearing that he supervised the school discos and took young people on trips to Italy.
Mr Parkinson faced criminal charges, but the case was dismissed after a sheriff determined he had been the victim of entrapment.
He said undercover police he was unknowingly chatting with on the Fabswingers site had mentioned a girl on several occasions.
“I didn’t answer that. I have no sexual interest in children, ”he said.
“We went on and they started talking about what would happen if she walked into the room, and I could have, I guess, just said look, this is absolutely disgusting, come down with you and reported it.” That might have been the best way forward.
Mr Parkinson said at the hearing that he had started to join in the “very nasty stuff”.
He added, “I literally shuddered reading it because it’s horrible. I should probably apologize that you must have seen it.
“It’s pretty awful and obviously I regret the whole thing. I was trying to find out what these people were doing, which I thought I had been following for about a year.
“My goal was to establish if these were really people willing to do horrible things to a child.”
Mr Parkinson agreed to participate in an inappropriate online conversation between May 25 and 30, 2016, where he made reference to sex with a 14-year-old girl and acts of bestiality with a dog,
He denies an allegation that he showed up at Travelodge in Falkirk on May 31, 2016, with the intention of engaging in sexual activity with an underage girl.
The hearing continues.