College officer guilty of rape

Mark Pearey
Mark Pearey

A FORMER student liaison officer at Yorkshire Coast College was yesterday convicted of raping a 17-year-old student in a Scarborough hotel.

Mark Pearey, 37, of Swan Hill Road, was also found guilty of four counts of engaging in sexual activity while in a position of trust by an 11-1 majority verdict after a three-day trial at York Crown Court.

Pearey was remanded in custody by Recorder Ben Nolan QC to await sentence next month.

He was warned that he should expect to serve “a considerable sentence of imprisonment”.

The student became pregnant and later had a miscarriage. The offences took place at the college, in a hotel room, and at other locations around the Scarborough area between November 2003 and January 2004.

Recorder Nolan said: “A pre-sentence report will be prepared to assess the defendant’s dangerousness of committing further offences against women.” He denied Pearey bail on the grounds that he posed a risk of absconding and “doing something more serious”.

The jury had heard that Pearey was well thought of at Yorkshire Coast College, having formed a Student Union on the campus and improved discipline. However he took advantage of his position to rape and sexually abuse his victim, who had asked him to organise for her to see a counsellor about problems.

Pearey never arranged the meeting, instead telling the girl to continue seeing him instead. He then began to telephone and text her saying he found her “attractive” and “sexy”. Then, after a paint-balling trip which Pearey had organised, he invited the girl to a hotel where he was then living, and he raped her. The victim, now in her 20s, told the court that she had been a virgin when Pearey forced himself on her.

After he left his post at Yorkshire Coast College in January 2004, Pearey got a job monitoring children’s working hours for North Yorkshire County Council.

Months after his departure from the college, he and his victim met in a Scarborough nightclub and they started a consensual relationship for about a year.

The affair ended with the police being called and both the alleged victim and Pearey receiving warnings about their behaviour. During his trial, Pearey, who had no previous convictions, had said his victim was a “fantasist” and “psychotic”.

Following the verdict, a spokesperson for Yorkshire Coast College said: “During Mr Pearey’s employment, no allegations were made against him. Yorkshire Coast College maintains a safe and secure environment for learners. We operate rigorous employment procedures, all staff and new appointments are checked against the National Criminal Records Bureau.”

Pearey, who has been married for two years, showed no emotion as he was led from the dock to the cells.