Scottish teacher found in bed with a 17-year-old boy
A French teacher and devout Christian accused of sleeping with a teenager on the night of the school prom claimed her drink was spiked. Teacher Isabelle Graham, 28, insisted she was a practising Christian and had been saving herself for her wedding, a disciplinary panel heard.
She was caught with the boy of 17 by a fellow pupil in the hotel room he was sharing at a Travelodge in Edinburgh, it was claimed.
Now the married teacher, 28, faces being barred from the profession if she loses her fight against the allegations.
The General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS), which will decide her future, was told the case came to light after a photograph taken by the returning student was posted online.
Mrs Graham, who was not present or represented at the Edinburgh hearing, claims to have no recollection of events after 10.30pm on the night in June, 2014, after four glasses of wine. She said she feared her drink was tampered with and insisted she was ‘waiting until marriage’ before having sex.
The GTCS accuses her of going with the boy from a hotel hosting the prom to a nearby Travelodge.
Mrs Graham, who taught French at Whitburn Academy, West Lothian, is alleged to have spent three hours alone with him, drinking, sharing a bed and ‘repeatedly engaged in sexual activity’.
Fraser Thomson, a council employee who investigated the case, told the panel an investigation began after senior teachers learned of the picture on social media. Describing the photo, he said: ‘The pupil standing in the door is Pupil A.
‘You can see there what appears to be a lady in the bed. The colour showed the lady with long blonde hair.’
Mr Thomson told the panel students said they saw ‘Pupil A and Mrs Graham lying on the bed, one on top of the covers and one underneath the covers’.
He added that she claimed that her first recollection since the night was ‘when she woke up in her flat at about 5am’.
She also admitted that four glasses of wine would not normally intoxicate her to that level, and said of the photograph: ‘It looks like my hair.’ But she denied recognising the young man in the photograph.
GTCS case presenter Carla Roth said that Mrs Graham’s claim that she was ‘totally out of it’ as a result of her drinking ‘differs from comment made by any witness’.
The allegations sparked a police investigation at the time - but no charges were brought.
DS Keith Mailer, who investigated the incident for Police Scotland, told the hearing that Mrs Graham ‘was concerned that her drink was spiked’ but that there was no evidence of this when she was tested at a hospital.
Speaking about CCTV video from the night, he said: ‘Throughout the footage there’s no sign that Mrs Graham is under the excessive influence of drugs or alcohol.’
Footage also showed the teacher and student kissing, he said, adding: ‘The way she moved and conducted herself suggested someone who was making conscious decisions.’
Police Scotland raised charges against Mrs Graham, but the Procurator Fiscal did not pursue them, citing a lack of evidence.
Mrs Graham has provided a statement to be read in her defence at the hearing.
In it, she claimed that she had been the ‘victim’ on the night.
She said that if the photo taken on the night did feature her, she was clearly unconscious and therefore it was ‘posed’ without her consent.
She went on: ‘The person in the bed in the photo is clearly not in control of the situation.’
Responding to DS Mailer’s claim there were no signs of intoxication, she claimed date rape drugs are available which leave victims lucid, but hinder their decision-making. She also said she was an ‘active and practising Christian’ who was ‘waiting until marriage’ before having sex.
Mrs Graham’s husband, Andrew Wilkie, who is training to enter the clergy, acted as her representative at the procedural hearing.
In a statement to the panel, he said: ‘In all the time I have known her, Mrs Graham has always put her Christian faith above all other things. ‘I have never had any doubt that the allegations made against Mrs Graham were false.’
A procedural hearing was heard on July 26 in which she applied to have the case held in private. But the attempt was denied by the GTCS.
Mrs Graham - who now lives abroad - did not appear at the hearing, despite being offered a videolink service.
The charges levelled against the teacher in full read: ‘On 5 June or 6 June 2014 or overnight, whilst employed as a teacher at Whitburn Academy and following the school’s Sixth Year Prom at Carlton Highland Hotel, North Bridge, Edinburgh, you did accompany Pupil A and other pupils to the Travelodge, Waterloo Place, Edinburgh, where you did have inappropriate contact with Pupil A.
‘You did spend approximately three hours alone with Pupil A in an hotel room. Share an alcoholic drink with Pupil A (age 17 at the time). Share a bed with Pupil A. Repeatedly engage in sexual activity with Pupil A.
‘And in light of the above it is alleged that your fitness to teach is impaired.’
The teacher resigned from her position at Whitburn Academy after the alleged incident took place.
A spokesman for West Lothian Council said: ‘Mrs Graham is no longer employed by West Lothian Council and it would not be appropriate to comment further.’
The hearing was adjourned until tomorrow so that the panel could consider its decision.