Disgraced teacher Glenn Stranex awaits sentencing for series of sex offences
Disgraced Co Down teacher Glenn Stranex, who was allowed to remain in his post despite allegations of “inappropriate behaviour / physical contact with pupils”, will find out on Wednesday if he is to be jailed for a series of sex offences.
The 53-year-old children’s author, teacher and leading hockey coach and umpire faces sentence on a total of 11 charges, on differing dates from September 1989 to September 2016.
They include two of child cruelty, one of voyeurism, seven of making indecent images of children and one of possessing 25 other indecent images of children.
Stranex, from Cairnsville Road in Bangor, had originally faced eight more serious charges, including the indecent assault of one girl, and inciting a second child to commit an act of gross indecency. However, they were allowed to ‘remain on the books’ following his guilty pleas to the other charges.
Prosecution lawyer Laura Ievers revealed that the primary school teacher was reported to police by Social Services in September 2016 after he was suspended amid fresh allegations of inappropriate behaviour.
Stranex had already been subject to disciplinary proceedings in the past, and given a final warning, which remained on his file, although he “was allowed to teach but conditionally”.
When police searched his classroom and home and took away a number of items, including computers, laptops and hard drives, Stranex told officers: “I don’t know what to say. I’m sorry”.
Ms Ievers told Belfast Crown Court that the guilty pleas from Stranex, who also coached the Ulster under-16 hockey team, and was also the youth officer for the under-15 girls, were “welcome pleas in a sensitive and detailed case”.
Counsel said the cruelity charges arose out of statements made by two former pupils, who detailed how, in one case he “behaved inappropriately towards” the child, then aged nine or 10, and “the experience made her feel uncomfortable”, although he treated her as “a favourite”.
In the second case, Stranex, who also coached Randalstown Ladies First XI, tried to “cultivate an inappropriate relationship” with the girl, which included games involving “trying to kiss him on the lips”, while on other occasions he would ridicule her which “often made her feel uneasy or embarrassed”.
The indecent images recovered from his computer equipment were of the lower Category C, some showing girls in they full hockey kit in various poses.
The voyeurism charge stemmed from images of a “young female” undressing in an upstairs room. Stranex later claimed he had been taking “pictures of the moon and the images resulted form his efforts to refocus the camera”.
His offending amounted, he said, to an “over tactile familiarity with these girls, which caused them distress”, adding that Stranex had “failed to keep the proper physical boundaries” in their cases.
Turning to the charges involving the indecent images, Mr Duffy said they a “small handful of images”, found amount thousands of images taken by Stranex, “a keen prolific photographer”.
Counsel also revealed that Stranex, who has attempted suicide three times, accepts that he will be unable to return to his work as a teacher and that his “good reputation is now in tatters”, but that by his guilty pleas he spared his two victims the “considerable burden of giving evidence”.
Former hockey coach and school teacher pleads guilty to sex charges
A former Co Down schoolteacher and leading hockey coach and umpire was today put on the Sex Offenders’ Register after he pleaded guilty to a total of nine sex charges and two of child cruelty.
The 53-year-old childrens’ author, Glenn Stranex, from Cairnsville Road in Bangor, was released on continuing bail until after the summer recess for sentence in September by Belfast Crown Court.
He had been accused of a total of 17 sex offences, dating from September 1989, including seven of indecently assaulting a child. However, those charges, and one of inciting a second child to commit an act of gross indecency, were allowed ‘to remain on the books’.
Stranex pleaded guilty to the remaining nine charges, including one of voyeurism, which took place between September 2004 and September 2016, seven charges of making indecent images of children, and one of possessing 25 other indecent images of children.
In addition the hockey umpire and head coach for the Ulster under-16 team pleaded guilty to two other charges which were added to his bill of indictment
In them Stranex, who also coached Randalstown Ladies First XI, and was Ulster Hockey’s youth officer for under-15 girls, pleaded guilty to ‘wilfully ill-treating a child in a manner likely to cause her unnecessary suffering’.
Releasing him on continuing bail, Judge Stephen Fowler QC told Stranex the amount of time he will be on the Offenders’ Register, requiring him to notify police of his details, will be determined by the sentence ultimately imposed by the court.