A RELIGIOUS education teacher has been convicted of a sex offence against a pupil more than 20 years ago and warned that he could face a jail sentence.
Donald Hunt, 52, who taught at Rhyddings High School, Oswaldtwistle, at the time, had denied indecently assaulting the boy in a storeroom next to his classroom.
The court heard he had told the boy to pull down his underpants inside his trousers before putting his hand into one of the boy's pockets and touching him.
His barrister Joe Boyd had told the jury at Preston Crown Court that to be accused of misconduct with a pupil was "the ultimate nightmare".
Hunt, now of Seascale, Cumbria, was cleared of a separate allegation that he incited another boy to commit an act of gross indecency, also in 1984.
Judge Andrew Gilbart QC directed the jury to find Hunt not guilty on the second count.
After the jury's unanimous guilty verdict on the indecent assault charge, Hunt was bailed until 14 July to await sentence after the court considers background reports.
The judge warned him that all sentencing options remained open, adding: "You are in danger of a custodial sentence."
The court heard that Hunt, a married man, is currently suspended from his job at Whitehaven School.
During the trial his victim, now 34, said that Hunt had ruined his life. He left school with few qualifications, got involved in crime and started taking hard drugs.
He said: "He was an RE teacher and an authority figure. He destroyed any respect or faith I had in men and any form of authority."
Andrew Long, prosecuting, said Hunt, who denied any homosexual tendencies, had tried to bluff and bluster his way out of the allegations rather than face up to the truth of his own sexual desires.
In his summing-up, Judge Gilbart said Hunt, an active Christian, claimed he had never behaved in the way suggested.
During the trial, the jury was told that Hunt worked at Rhyddings between 1982 and 1990. He later worked at Bacup and Rawtenstall Grammar School.
The jury also heard that Hunt was warned about his future conduct in 2003 after an internal investigation at his current school in Whitehaven into claims that he had asked a boy of 12 if he would be interested in doing some modelling and pulled up his shirt to look at his stomach.
He was suspended when the Oswaldtwistle allegations came to light and will not now be returning to his post.