herald

Tuesday 6 December 2016

No jail for teacher who sent teen pupil 'vile and abusive' texts and kept on working

Music teacher Sean Creed tormented teenage pupil
Music teacher Sean Creed tormented teenage pupil

This is the music teacher who harassed a former student by sending her insulting and violent letters and text messages over a 16-month period - and continued to teach.

Sean Creed (39), who teaches at Malahide School of Music, in North County Dublin, admitted buying phones to send the abusive text messages, which were full of "vile and abusive, full of foul language" to make the teenager feel "the way he felt".

He has escaped jail with a four-month sentence suspended for 12 months and has been ordered to have no contact with the victim and her family for five years.

Despite the fact that he pleaded guilty to harassment early last month, his employer said it was unaware of the case.

In a statement the school said: "Malahide School of Music is a voluntary cooperative organisation that offers facilities for self-employed music teachers.

"The organisation was not aware of the court case until contacted [this week]. Immediate action has been taken, and Mr Creed is no longer associated with the organisation."

At a previous court hearing, Judge Grainne O'Neill was told Creed had €15,000 in compensation to give to his victim.

However, when the case was finalised this week at Blanchardstown District Court, Creed's barrister said the money was not available.

"He went to Bank of Ireland last week but could not secure a loan for €10,000," she said.

However, he did have €6,000 in court with him to offer to his victim, but she refused to accept it.

Speaking on behalf of the victim, the State solicitor said: "She feels there was no reality to the money.

"She has been in court three times in relation to the compensation and is anxious the case is finalised today. She has no interest in the €6,000."

Creed admitted his behaviour was "despicable" and apologises profusely to the former student.

The teenager started to receive the letters and text messages in February 2014 after finishing lessons with Creed.

Stared

She continued to receive the letters and text messages, which were "vile and abusive, full of foul language" in April and December 2014, and January and February last year.

Garda Des Martin told the court that on one occasion, Creed was in the same railway carriage as the teenager.

He later followed her from the station and "stared forcefully" at her while she waited for her mother to collect her.

He said that one of the letters the teenager received in February 2015 was handed, unopened, to gardai.

The letter read: "Don't bother studying for your Leaving Certificate. You won't be around for it. It's a waste of time. Welcome to your nightmare."

Creed had pleaded guilty to harassing the teenager on various dates between February, 2014 and June 17, 2015.

In a victim impact statement, which the teenager read out at a previous court date, she said she was horrified and very distressed by the letters and texts.

"I felt very vulnerable and I was terrified to leave my house. Nothing was made easy by him. The messages were threatening in nature. He was saying he was coming to get me," she said.

"He intimidated and frightened me. I am still afraid. I hope he will leave me alone as I am still afraid and panic if I see someone who looks like him. It was an absolutely horrific ordeal for me."

After he had pleaded guilty to the offences, Creed, who has no previous convictions, told a previous sitting of the court he "felt relief" when he was arrested.

He said it was "despicable behaviour" and apologised.

Shame

"I am very embarrassed by it all and every day I think about what I did with such shame... I felt so bad at the time that I wanted her to feel the same way I felt. I just hate myself for it," he told the court.

On handing down the sentence, Judge O'Neill said Creed's actions ensured "maximum upset to the victim," whom she described as "incredibly resilient".

Both the Child and Family Agency Tusla and the Department of Education said they had no role to play in this instance when contacted about what safeguards were in place to ensure people with convictions like Creed's were compelled to let their employers know.

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