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'Warped' drama teacher spanked young actresses.

Byline: Ross McCarthy

A drama teacher who lured would-be actresses to auditions in Birmingham in order to spank and whip them was yesterday jailed for 12 months at the city's Crown Court.

In passing sentence on Stephen Hunt, Judge Derek Stanley said: 'You are an intelligent man of considerable talent but there is a warped part of your mentality, of that there can be no doubt.

'You wrote plays and then enticed these young women into submitting themselves for audi-tions in which you then tricked them into compromising positions. They believed they were taking part in a perfectly legitimate auditioning process.

'It was clearly something that was partly genuine in your mind but also partly to satisfy a deep seated and perverted lust.'

Hunt (44), of Weoley Park Road, Selly Oak, had previously admitted six charges of indecent assault relating to three women all in their early 20s.

Michael Burrows, prosecuting, said Hunt had told the victims that they might get a chance to appear on television. He said Hunt had written a number of plays, many of them involving sexual violence towards women.

During the auditions, whichwere videoed, Hunt would always play the male character although on some occasions, even when women were only reading scripts, he would get them to perform in costumes that included black tights, leotards, short black skirts and high heels.

Mr Burrows said Hunt would also get the victims to lay across him while he smacked and whipped them and to sit astride him as he lay on his back.

He said Hunt used the words in the plays he wrote as a 'licence to grope and sexually abuse them'.

The first victim, he said, responded to an advert to audition for a musical Hunt had placed in The Stage magazine. She was told that in order to perform the required role she would have to go topless and be whipped and Hunt had also claimed he was attempting to secure the actor Alan Bates as a main lead. The woman was hit about 20 times with a whip on the buttocks, while another woman was also spanked and caressed by Hunt.

Mr Burrows said the police became involved after one of the victims complained and when officers searched his home they found material connected to the victims along with pornographic magazines.

They also recovered videos Hunt had made of the auditions.

Patricia Leeds, defending, said Hunt, who was married, had been employed as a special needs teacher for autistic children at a school where he was also a governor.

She said as a result of the allegations he had been sacked from his job and had since been claiming sickness benefit because of depression.
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Mar 2, 2002
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