Female PE teacher jailed for sexually abusing young girls
A PE teacher who abused her position of trust to groom two teenage girls for sex has been jailed for 18 months.
Sandrine Brown, 31, engaged in sex in a store room with one of her victims after befriending her on an internet messaging site.
Warwick Crown Court heard that Brown, formerly from the Stoke area of Coventry, pleaded guilty on the basis that there had never been an occasion when she was in bed with both girls at the same time.
The Recorder of Coventry, Judge Richard Griffith-Jones, was told that Brown, who worked at a school in the city, committed six child sex offences between 2008 and 2011.
Ordering Brown to register as a sex offender for ten years and serve up to half of her jail term in custody, the judge told her: "This case is a tragedy, most particularly for the two now young women who were young girls at the time that they were sexually abused by you.
"But it is also a tragedy for you because you were blessed with intelligence and athleticism and sensitivity, and you began to work as a teacher in a very responsible position."
Brown, the judge said, had betrayed her responsibilities by taking advantage of her victims in a "weak and self-indulgent" manner.
The judge added: "I have to send you to prison because of that gross breach of trust and because of the effect it has upon the people who are the victims. The other aspect which compels me to take the course I'm going to have to is that this involves a matter of public confidence."
Brown, who admitted one charge of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity while in a position of trust, and five further counts of sexual activity with a child, was also made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order.
Prosecutor Graeme Simpson told the court that Brown began work at the school in 2006 and that her victims were aged between 13 and 17 at the time of the offences, which took place at her home, in a car and at a hotel.
One of the victims felt she had been manipulated and taken advantage of, emotionally and sexually, while the other believed she had been targeted at an impressionable age.
In a victim impact statement read to the court, one of the complainants said she felt "that she was groomed into thinking that she was gay when she had never looked at the same sex in that way before".
Offering mitigation before sentence, defence barrister Lee Marklew said Brown - who has no previous convictions - wished that her victims could find closure and "some peace" after the case.
Brown had a history of depression, had undergone counselling and was socially isolated at the time of the offences, Mr Marklew submitted, telling the court: "She is, like many if not all in her position who have fallen from professional grace, someone who is having difficulty coping."
Speaking after the case, Detective Constable Sherrie Kimberley, of the West Midlands Police Public Protection Unit, said: "The girls were very brave in coming forward and giving statements.
"I would urge anyone who has suffered abuse, no matter how long ago, to contact West Midlands Police so we can investigate.
"I hope this sentence serves to help anyone else who may find themselves in a similar situation to have the courage to come forward and report abuse."