The story of teacher Caroline French — accused by one of her former female students of forcing her into a sexual relationship — should have you rethinking the “innocent until proven guilty” status we should all receive. A high school drama teacher, French is in court defending herself against allegations of the improper relationship and, by default, that she likes women. She’s denying both charges and simply says she “cares” for all her students, but not sexually. Is this just a do-gooding instructor wrongly accused by a vengeful student? Or an adult preying on kids in her care?
Caroline French also defended herself against allegations she was gay as she took the stand at Preston Crown Court. French, who taught drama at a Blackpool high school, has pleaded not guilty to three charges of indecent assault and one count of indecency with a child. And yesterday the 38-year-old strongly denied seducing the young girl. She told the jury: “I didn’t have a sexual relationship at any time with (her). I didn’t take her home and I didn’t groom her. “(She’s lying) because I turned her down and told her to get lost.”
But French, who used to live on St David’s Road North, St Annes, admitted she had cared for the girl – along with all the other pupils in her form. She added: “You can’t help but care about students in your care, especially if you’re a form tutor and you see them every day for five years. “I think all the parents I’ve been in contact with have not expressed any concern about the fact I care about my students. “She had family problems. I didn’t exploit her, I tried to help her.”
As for the notion that she likes the ladies — which is a sexual orientation, and quite different from a female pederast — French insists that’s also a lie perpetrated by her accuser. “I’m not gay. I never concealed any of my relationships. I didn’t have a relationship with (the alleged victim) and I couldn’t conceal it. This is my life, I’m not playing a part.”