After a teacher was found with child pornography, two former pupils contacted police claiming he had indecently assaulted them at school.
More than 1,300 indecent images of children were found on a computer at Andrew Beattie’s home and local press coverage of his court appearance prompted two ex-pupils to come forward with further allegations.
The 61-year-old first offender, of Longhope Drive, appeared on indictment at Jedburgh Sheriff Court, and admitted having indecent images of children at his home on May 4 last year.
He also admitted making inappropriate sexual remarks to a 14-year-old pupil, while working as a teacher at Selkirk High School between April and August 1991, and performing a sex act on a 15-year-old pupil between April 1995 and May 1996.
Procurator fiscal Morag McLintock told how a joint operation run by Lincolnshire Police and the Child Protection Centre led to an e-mail address used by the accused to download indecent images of children.
A credit card also linked him to a website.
On May 4 last year, officers attended at Selkirk High School where Beattie was working as a teacher, and he was detained and his home searched.
A computer system was removed from his bedroom and he told officers it was the one they were looking for.
The computer hard drive was examined and 444 level one images showing young boys posing provocatively were found. There were also 102 images at level two, showing multiple participants posing in images and movies, ranging in age from 10 to 14 years.
At level three, 406 images were found, showing young boys and adult males engaging in non-penetrative sexual acts, some with children of only a few years old.There were also 439 images at level four, showing young boys and adult males involved in sexual acts, as well as images and movies between children – again with some just a few years old.
“The accused received publicity when he appeared on petition and further enquiries took place when the complainers in charges two and three (former high school pupils) contacted police,” explained Ms McLintock.
The first complainer, who had been 14 at the time of the offence, “became very emotional when he reflected on the incident involving the accused” said Ms McLintock.
He told officers how the accused had befriended him and he had gone to his classroom to say goodbye.
“The accused took him to a room next door and placed his hand on the boy’s thigh, moving it up to his crotch and fondling him,” explained Ms McLintock.
The boy was described as “shocked and confused” and did not report the incident.
The second pupil, who was 15 at the time, also came forward after reading about the accused in the local press.
The fiscal said the boy found he was “able to share his concerns with the accused, who appeared understanding, and they had supportive chats” while he was at school.
“He had an open invitation to come and speak to his teacher, and during about six of these chats, it wasn’t just chatting which took place,” continued Ms McLintock.
Beattie’s behaviour included sexual remarks and the fiscal added: “It also included him touching the boy on the thigh area, handling his genitals and fondling them”. Beattie also performed a sexual act on the pupil.
When police attended at Beattie’s home, he was fully cooperative, and admitted his guilt.
Defence advocate Shelagh McCall said she would reserve the bulk of her mitigation until reports were available.
“These types of offences are often characterized by denial and avoidance of blame,” she explained, “but the accused is in marked contrast to that normal practice.
“He is appalled by his behavior and filled with remorse,” said Ms McCall.
“He is determined to gain an understanding of his conduct to ensure this behaviour does not occur again.
“These are easy things to say, but are backed up by actions on his part,” she continued.
“Not only did he direct police to the computer, but he also gave them his old e-mail address, and when he was interviewed about the other two offences, he immediately admitted his involvement.
“That cooperation with police has continued throughout,” added Ms McCall.
The advocate said her client had been suffering from depression and anxiety.
She said he had been offered a place on a treatment programme, which he intended to pursue, and had also sought professional help through his GP and therapy.
Sheriff Donald Corke said he was prepared to continue bail while social enquiry and community service reports were prepared.
Beattie was placed on the Sex Offenders Register and sentence deferred until April 20 at Duns Sheriff Court for reports.