CONCERN was raised about the activities of a former teacher jailed last Friday for sexually abusing a teenager who attended an activity group he ran.

A former colleague said he and some other teachers at the school felt uncomfortable about Stephen Elliott’s “unprofessionalism and inappropriateness” with both staff and children.

But it was only when his victim reported his activities to police, in 2017, that Elliott was suspended, later resigning his position.

He denied the allegations, until September 14, when he admitted two counts of sexual activity with a boy while in a position of trust, a week before scheduled trial, at Durham Crown Court.

The 53-year-old, of Boddy Street, Bishop Auckland, was jailed for 13-months and made subject of sex offender registration and a Sexual Harm Prevention Order, both for ten years.

The court heard the offences took place after he plied the victim with alcohol during card nights at his home with other invited group members, who were expected to remove items of clothing as a forfeit.

Since the hearing The Northern Echo has spoken to one of Elliott’s former teacher colleagues who said concerns had been raised about his behaviour for years prior to the offences coming to light.

“I raised concerns about his unprofessionalism and inappropriateness with staff and children and know other staff who did the same.”

He said “about ten teachers” shared “an unsettling feeling” about him, but none of their concerns appeared to be acted upon.

“They were low level concerns, things with him just didn’t feel right, but he was very powerful within school and those with concerns ended up leaving or shutting up.

“Lots of things brought forward were rumours and now a lot of staff feel awful, they brought concerns but clearly they weren’t taken seriously.

“Concerns were raised about him having poker nights and parties at his house, pupils staying at his house the night before an early start for a school trip and his behaviour on trips.

“He was an awful person.”

The school said Elliott was suspended on July 9, 2017, and it received his resignation on November 3, that year.

It added: “The school’s HR providers are currently in the process of making a referral to the Teaching Regulation Agency informing them of Stephen Elliott’s conviction.”

In light of the conviction the professional body is likely to rule that he can not work in a teaching role, in future.