25 Feb 2014

Teacher who posed as girl jailed

10:10 am on 25 February 2014

A physical education teacher at a Nelson school who posed as a teenage girl to elicit sexual images from his students has been sentenced to two years and four months in jail.

Stuart McGowan, 50, was sentenced on Monday on 30 representative charges of making and possessing objectionable pornographic material.

He admitted to police that he bought a prepaid cellphone and texted former and present pupils, pretending to be a girl who was offering to send pictures in exchange for photos of their genitals.

The name of the school at which McGowan worked has been suppressed. He was stood down from his post last September at the time the allegations came to light.

Police prosecutor Ruth Thomas says he abused his position to carry out his offending.

Defence lawyer Michael Vesty told the court McGowan described himself as scum and worthless, and had considered taking his own life.

Judge Gregory Ross described McGowan's actions as a significant breach of trust and a gross destruction of his students' privacy.