THE judge said the offences were so serious, they merited a two-year prison sentence. The jury found the young schoolgirls had been sexually assaulted to gratify the perpetrator's twisted desires.
It's the kind of crime - a repellent tally of nine sex assaults on under-13s - you'd expect to spark an outcry from those concerned with children's welfare, not least from those taxed with ensuring kids' education and safety.
So, what was the response from the teaching profession? What did the NAHT, the umbrella body for headteachers, have to say about a man whose crimes have marked him a convicted paedophile? "I think that he did not do his job with his own safety in mind," said a spokeswoman, with no hint of irony. "He was always thinking first about the children."
Get this - incredibly, they spoke about the need to tighten up procedures to protect their own members, while going on to express regret that this case could result in headteachers no longer being able to offer a sympathetic cwtch to pupils.
And all because the perpetrator, David Thorley, 56, of Carmarthen, was not a member of the public, but one of their own. A headmaster. A person invested with the kind of kudos for which the phrase "pillar of the community" was coined. A person entrusted with the duty of the care of our children.
Of course, it's fully understandable that his association would wish to support him during his trial. As with any defendant, he was innocent until proven guilty.
But he has now been found guilty. Not in some trumped-up court of public opinion, or through a trial by innuendo, or subjected to unproven malicious falsehood. But guilty in a court of law.
Those the least means can As the NAHT vows to stand by Thorley, it's yet another example of the double-standards that can surround damning court verdicts. Prisons are full of "innocent" men and women, yet those with the least means can protest their innocence until they're blue in the face with little hope of catching anyone's ear. However, those in authority earn glowing testimonials on the courthouse steps just moments after a guilty verdict. protest their innocence until they're This latest case comes just two months after another union in Wales vowed to stand by a teacher sacked over claims she humiliated young children as young as three who soiled themselves in her classroom. The hearing had been told she sprayed them with air freshener and ordered them to blue in face remain in their dirty clothes until their parents came to collect them.
Such cases are an insult to the right-thinking majority of teachers, and serves to sully a beleaguered profession.
The sight of respectable professionals circling their wagons in such a way can only suggest they've forgotten what - or, more pertinently, who - they're there for.
It also shamefully forgets that there are real victims to remember in all of this - and they're young, vulnerable, and don't have a professional association to protect their interests or their shattered innocence.Those with the least means can protest their innocence until they're blue in the face