Teacher has jail sen­tence quashed

Com­mu­nity or­der given

East Kilbride News - - NEWS - Ni­cola Findlay

A per­verted former PE teacher who ad­mit­ted abus­ing three young girls has had his jail sen­tence quashed.

Shamed Bruce Rankin, from Strathaven, was sen­tenced to 18 months in prison in May for prey­ing on the young­sters – in­clud­ing at the North La­nark­shire school where he taught – but has been re­leased just a few months later.

In­stead of the jail term, Rankin has now been given a com­mu­nity pay­back or­der of three years of su­per­vi­sion and 150 hours of com­mu­nity ser­vice.

He ad­mit­ted the abuse be­tween De­cem­ber 1, 2010 and June 29, 2014 at the school and else­where.

Sher­iff Shiona Wal­dron told disgraced Rankin at the time that there was no al­ter­na­tive to cus­tody given the grav­ity of the of­fences – de­spite his pleas of re­morse – and placed him on the sex of­fend­ers’ reg­is­ter for 10 years.

She said: “These are very se­ri­ous of­fences and this type of of­fend­ing must at­tract noth­ing other than a cus­to­dial sen­tence – es­pe­cially given you were in a po­si­tion of trust.”

The case drew a re­sponse from NSPCC Scot­land who con­demned Rankin’s breach of trust dur­ing the at­tacks on his young vic­tims, say­ing the im­pact of his vile ac­tions would live with them into adult­hood.

But in July, Rankin suc­cess­fully ap­pealed the sen­tence handed down and the pe­riod of time he will spend on the sex of­fend­ers’ reg­is­ter has also been re­duced to three years in­stead of 10.

Dur­ing pro­ceed­ings at Hamil­ton Sher­iff Court, it was re­vealed Rankin re­ceived a writ­ten warn­ing from his former school in 2012 fol­low­ing com­plaints from an­other pupil over in­ap­pro­pri­ate touch­ing and com­ments. He re­tired from teach­ing in 2014. Rankin ad­mit­ted plac­ing his hand on one of his vic­tims’ bare thighs and mov­ing her legs apart, mak­ing a sex­ual re­mark as he did, while em­ployed as a teacher.

He was su­per­vis­ing the girl who was us­ing a weights bench.

Rankin also ad­mit­ted giv­ing an­other vic­tim piggy-backs in Glas­gow and, while do­ing so, touch­ing her in an in­ti­mate area over her cloth­ing.

Defence lawyer Marco Gau­rino told the court Rankin was a re­li­gious man who had “prayed” for his vic­tims and “ac­cepted full re­spon­si­bil­ity for his ac­tions”.

In Au­gust, charges cov­er­ing the of­fences were lodged against Rankin by the General Teach­ing Coun­cil for Scot­land.

Rankin was not present but the re­port pub­lished on the teach­ing coun­cil’s web­site con­firmed he had been struck off.

It read: “His name re­mains so re­moved un­less and un­til an ap­pli­ca­tion for re-reg­is­tra­tion is made by him and a fit­ness to teach panel di­rects that the ap­pli­ca­tion be granted. The panel di­rected that he should be pro­hib­ited from mak­ing an ap­pli­ca­tion for re-reg­is­tra­tion for a pe­riod of two years from the date of re­moval.”

Dur­ing court pro­ceed­ings, Mr Guar­ino said the ex-teacher vol­un­tar­ily took steps to en­sure he didn’t have ac­cess to vul­ner­a­ble groups and re­nounced his pro­tect­ing vul­ner­a­ble groups cer­ti­fi­ca­tion.

New sen­tence Bruce Rankin has been re­leased from prison

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