Dominatrix allowed to carry on teaching
'Mistress Saffron' claimed fetish services not 'relevant' to her job
A primary teacher who was paid for work as a dominatrix and advertised her services on the internet has been allowed to remain in the profession.
Faith-Anne Lesbirel, who used the name Mistress Saffron, had a profile on a site which catered for fetishist sexual interests and admitted her activities were paid for.
Ms Lesbirel, who worked at Simpson School, Milton Keynes, was exposed in a Sunday tabloid newspaper in 2008.
But she insisted her fetish activities were private and of "no relevance" to her job, that her presence online was anonymous and she believed her identity was not traceable.
Following the newspaper article, Ms Lesbirel took down her website and admitted her activities to her headteacher, Lynn Samwell-Smith, who was "shocked" but supportive.
Mrs Samwell-Smith, who no longer works at the school, told a General Teaching Council for England (GTC) panel there had been disruption after the news came to light. Some parents told her they did not want Ms Lesbirel having contact with their children; others said her private life had nothing to do with her job.
Mrs Samwell-Smith said there was an "adverse impact" on the school and its reputation. Year 5 and 6 pupils asked Ms Lesbirel if she was a "prostitute". Eventually the teacher, who had given notice before the incident, opted to leave her job early.
Ahead of the GTC case, in evidence to the Independent Safeguarding Board (ISB), she said: "I would research the best-quality and best-value equipment and a price for the equipment and/or clothing would be agreed by phone and the money would be left in the room when we met. I would also charge a fee for my time when the scenarios took a lot of effort to prepare."
She highlighted that the cleaning up required could be "immense" and that she charged for this and for cleaning products.
Ms Lesbirel also told the ISB hearing she did not have sex in exchange for cash, but she said her activities could have "given sexual pleasure" to people she worked with.
The GTC panel, which reprimanded her for unacceptable professional conduct, said her website was "publicly accessible" and her activities were "conducted in part in the public domain".
"We are of the view that had someone known to you accessed the photograph on the website, they could possibly have recognised you. However, even without the photograph we find that you put yourself into the public domain offering services as a dominatrix," said Muriel Robinson, chair of the GTC panel.
"We accept there was no deliberate attempt to put your dominatrix activities into the public domain but that you were naive and misguided as to your professional responsibilities and the potential impact of your promoting yourself, in the way that you did, on the school, pupils and the profession."
An assistant head who sexually harassed colleagues and made "inappropriate" comments to a female pupil has been reprimanded by the General Teaching Council.
Richard Thomas was suspended in March 2007 from Parkfield High, Wolverhampton, where he had a senior pastoral role and taught food technology and English. He resigned in June 2007 and has not taught since.