When news happens, text CIT and your photos and videos to 80360. Or contact us by email or phone.
Darwen school worker cleared of child sex charges
9:12am Tuesday 26th February 2013 in East Lancashire
A YOUTH project worker accused of having sexual activity with a child from the school where he works, has been acquitted by a jury.
Christopher Midgley, who worked at Darwen Aldridge Community Academy as part of the school’s Entrepreneurship team, walked free from court after being cleared of four charges of sexual activity with a child under 16 while in a position of trust.
The 26-year-old, of Brookside, Coppull, Chorley, was suspended from his role at the school and his duties as Chorley District Scouts young leader when the allegations were made public.
The youth worker, who delivered courses in personal and social health at the school, is yet to find out if he will be able to return to work.
Preston Crown Court heard Mr Midgley told police after he was confronted with intimate pictures of the pair, that he had originally rejected the boy’s advances but they had developed a relationship when he was older.
The court heard that on some of the ‘20 or 30 occasions they met’, the pair drove to moors overlooking Burnley, near wind energy turbines.
Mr Midgley told the jury that he would react ‘very differently’ if he was ever confronted with a similar situation again and that he had been ‘naive’ to think he could handle the situation alone.
The defendant also told the court that his relationship with the alleged victim was simply born out of ‘trying to help him’ cope with a number of personal issues.
The jury of six men and six women were told by the defence that the allegations were motivated by jealousy and had been fabricated, after the allegedly victim had discovered Mr Midgley had met a new partner. As the verdict was given there was a huge sigh of relief from members of Mr Midgley’s family in the public gallery.
Darwen Academy principal Brendan Loughlin, said: “We take allegations of this nature extremely seriously and have given the police every assistance with their investigations. Mr Midgley was suspended from the academy as soon as the allegations were made known to us, as we are required to do.
“Although Mr Midgley has been found not guilty of the charges brought against him in court, that suspension remains in place pending a full internal investigation in accordance with academy disciplinary procedures.”