A deputy principal and a PE teacher both lost their jobs after an affair.
A deputy principal and a PE teacher both lost their jobs after an affair.

PE teacher’s porn fling disaster

AN AFFAIR between a school deputy principal and a married female PE teacher featuring flirty emails, naked photos, secret liaisons and homemade porn ended in the woman's violent bashing at the hands of her abusive husband after he "busted" her on the phone to her lover.

The husband, who was charged with common assault and issued with an apprehended violence order, filed a complaint on his wife's behalf with the NSW Education Department alleging she had been sexually harassed by her boss.

"[My husband] has busted me talking to you," the woman said in a phone call the next day, according to an affidavit filed by the deputy principal.

"He has seen all the pictures that you sent me and the ones I sent you. He is very angry and I don't know what he is going to do. He is very jealous and angry. I had to call the cops. He bashed me. There were eight cop cars here last night.

"He is very pissed off with you he wanted to know where you live. He said, he wants me to go make a statement to the police that you tried to rape me."

Despite investigators ultimately finding there was no basis for the sexual harassment claims, both ended up losing their jobs as a result, with the deputy principal then filing an application for unfair dismissal with the NSW Industrial Relations Commission.

The deputy principal, referred to only as "Mr E", was sacked by the school in May last year for failing disclose his sexual relationship with "Ms R" while sitting on a selection panel which gave her a promotion.

He was also accused of failing to address complaints that Ms R sent naked photos of herself to two other teachers and took naked photos at school during school hours - because he was getting in on the action.

Much of the case hinged on whether the sexual relationship between the pair started before or after the selection panel convened in April 4, 2016. Mr E claimed the sexual relationship didn't begin until the school holidays, after Ms R had sent him an "explicit pic" in the last week of term.

"We ended up having consensual sex during the school holidays," he said in a response to the Teachers Federation. "At one time she allowed me to videotape us. For both our modesty I have not included this video as evidence but would be able to produce it if absolutely necessary."

Mr E told the commission the pair began to grow close after he was treated for cancer and returned to work in March 21, 2016. He described his relationship with Ms R at that point as "one of mutual respect and friendship, and on a par with similar relationships I had developed with other teachers".

The NSW Education Department, however, maintained there was an "abundance" of evidence the pair were already engaged in a sexual relationship, including work emails prior to Mr E going in for treatment that were "suggestive" and "very personal".

In an email on February 25, Ms R wrote: "Also if there is anything I can do to help when you are going to be on leave, please let me know. I haven't stop thinking of you. (hope that doesn't sound strange, hahah). You will be fine. xx"

Mr E replied: "Thank you so much for your offer of support and well wishes. It will only sound strange if I say that I have been thinking of you to hahah :)

"But on a serious note i really appreciate you professionally and on a personal level. I have a positive outlook and looking forward to getting back to work in 3 weeks. xoxoxox I hope that wasnt to many xo either lol."

She wrote back: "You're strong and fit and that makes the recovery side so much quicker, that's what got me through it all. No never too many xoxoxoxo….. hahah. You're such a sweet, kind hearted person."

In a March 16, 2017 assessment, Jane Thorpe, executive director of the department's Employee Performance and Conduct Directorate (EPAC), conceded that the interactions between the pair - known as "Mr E" and "Ms R" - "may have been mutual".

"However, the comments and the sharing of explicit photos with a colleague do constitute sex based harassment in the workplace of the worst kind, whether or not the interactions were mutual," Ms Thorpe wrote.

But in an affidavit prepared for the unfair dismissal case, she changed her tune.

"I have since recognised that a finding of interactions being mutual between [Mr E] and [Ms R] generally negates the actions of [Mr E] constituting sexual harassment," she said.

"However, my original finding of misconduct rested on the view that it is grossly inappropriate for a deputy principal to maintain such relations with his subordinate colleague, particularly when that deputy principal was heading the recruitment panel."

In his decision last week, Commissioner John Murphy dismissed the application, finding that Mr E "deliberately failed to disclose the nature of his relationship when he was the convener of the selection panel" considering Ms R for a senior position.

"The applicant participated in the selection process to the advantage of Ms R and to the disadvantage of the other two applicants," he said.

"In addition, it is my finding that the applicant failed to take appropriate action to address the complaints that Ms R sent photos of herself naked to Mr M and Mr V and took photos of herself naked while on the school site during school hours, and that his failure in this regard was directly attributable to the relationship that he had, or was forming with, Ms R."

Mr Murphy said taken together, the misconduct was "sufficiently serious to justify the termination of his employment" and therefore his dismissal was neither harsh, unreasonable nor unjust.

A spokesman for the Department of Education said: "The Department has clear expectations that teachers will conduct themselves appropriately in the workplace. In circumstances where employees engage in misconduct, the Department investigates and takes the appropriate disciplinary action.

"This decision has upheld the Department's decision to dismiss an executive teacher following findings of misconduct."

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