A married Church of England primary school teacher has been jailed for stalking teenage girls on the internet.
Kevin Christie, 40, engaged girls in 'sex chats' on Blackberry Messenger and Skype. He persuaded one 16-year-old to send him topless pictures of herself and sent lewd messages to a 13-year-old.
Christie, a Year 3 teacher at Baines Endowed Primary School near Blackpool, Lancashire, was arrested after a 13-year-old's mother found sexually explicit messages on her daughter's mobile phone.
Police found over 320,000 lines of Skype instant messages under his Skype username.
At Preston Crown Court, Christie was jailed for 12 months. He pleaded guilty to inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and possessing an indecent photograph of a child. He has since been sacked from his job. None of the girls were pupils at his school.
Christie was also ordered to sign the Sex Offenders' Register for a period of 10 years, and was given a Sexual Offences Prevention Order until further order.
Passing sentence Judge Pamela Badley said: "You engaged in a deliberate policy of seeking out a child who was young enough to be interested in engaging in sexual chat with someone who you pretended to be.
"In real life you are a 40-year-old man with plenty of experience of life and indeed detailed knowledge about children through your work.
"You were undergoing some problems in your relationship and you sought the virtual reality into the seedy world in which you felt you were able to engage with the young girl pretending to be someone else.
"There has been some suggestion that you were somewhat naive and didn't understand the seriousness, I find that hard to accept. Your whole career has to do with looking after the welfare of children.
"The fact is that you sought to engage with a 13-year-old in sexualised talk, it was a deliberate encounter in which you engaged upon. This was certainly something unknown to your colleagues, your wife and neighbours - all of whom considered you to be an entirely respectable individual.
"The lie you were maintaining was that you spent a considerable amount of time involved in Skype over sexualised nature.
"You did not touch this child but you engaged with her in a way, sometimes called mind games. undoubtedly it will have an effect on her in the future when she realises what was taking place.
"You are well thought of by those who you weren't aware of the activities you were undertaking. There is a deep revulsion for those who seek out remote sexual activity with young girls - this is something which was clearly a sexual thrill as far as you were concerned.
"You were someone who was employed for the welfare of children. You had a considerable amount of trust placed on you by members of the community. You engaged upon this communication quite deliberately - the gravity of this is to be marked by immediate custody."
After the case Detective Sergeant Kevin Wright of Lancashire Police said: "Christie's actions were reprehensible, using technology to prey on two young girls in separate parts of the country for his own gratification.
"This behaviour will no doubt horrify members of the public, particularly those who are parents of teenage girls, and it is right Christie has been jailed for his actions."
More on Parentdish: The dangers of sexting