Police recruit removed from active duty
A trainee police officer was removed from duty yesterday after it was revealed he was struck off the UK teachers' register for life for serious misconduct involving a 16-year-old schoolgirl.
Former Warwick Academy teacher Matthew McGowan, 38, was banned from teaching in Britain after he was found to have had an “inappropriate relationship” with a pupil at the private girls' boarding school where he was a drama teacher.
Acting Deputy Police Commissioner Antoine Daniels said: “The Bermuda Police Service takes the matter very seriously and has removed Mr McGowan from duty with immediate effect. An update on his employment status will be provided in due course after legal advice has been taken.”
McGowan, who taught drama at Warwick Academy until “the natural conclusion of his three-year contract”, left the island in 2010 and took a job at Wycombe Abbey school in Buckinghamshire, England, the next year. The mother of a girl, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, complained to the school about his conduct in July 2016.
A professional conduct panel from the National College of Teaching and Leadership found this month that McGowan had developed an inappropriate relationship with the girl.
McGowan, who resigned from Wycombe Abbey last September, denied having any sexual contact with the girl, claiming the allegations came after he rebuffed the girl's romantic advances.
He later returned to Bermuda and joined a police service recruit class less than three weeks ago. Mr Daniels said information about the allegations was not available during the recruitment process and it was not declared by McGowan.
He added: “Matthew McGowan has been employed as an unsworn student officer on a recruit foundation course at the police training centre since September 11, 2017.
“He was previously employed as a teacher at a private school in England. Information has come to light that a professional conduct panel in England has prohibited him from teaching indefinitely after it found allegations to be proven that he behaved inappropriately with a former female student.
“Mr McGowan has been given 28 days in which to appeal the decision.”
David Horan, principal at Warwick Academy, yesterday stressed that McGowan left the school because he had reached the end of his contract.
He added: “There were no suspicions, reports or investigations around inappropriate relationships with students and Mr McGowan while working at the school which would have led to anything but the natural conclusion of his three-year contract.
“There was no concern for us to pass on to his next employer. We have done our due diligence in looking at our records and speaking to the former principal.”
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