A FORMER East Lothian secondary school employee who sexually assaulted a trainee teacher during a staff Christmas night out has been placed on the sex offenders' register for six months.

Graeme Bennion, 39, slapped the woman’s bottom while he worked for East Lothian Council and called her “loose” during the school’s festive party at an Edinburgh nightclub in 2018.

Edinburgh Sheriff Court was told that the victim had pushed Bennion away following the assault and told him to “f*** off” before she then fled to a nearby toilet.

The woman, who was working at the school as a probationary teacher at the time, told a jury that the incident had left her feeling “degraded” and “like a piece of dirt”.

She said that she reported the assault to the school’s headteacher and, following an official investigation by the council, decided not to report the incident to the police at the time.

Bennion, of Oliphant Gardens Wallyford, was employed at the time as an Active Schools co-ordinator by East Lothian Council and worked in the PE department at the school. He is now no longer employed by the local authority.

The father-of-two denied sexually assaulting the woman but was found guilty by the jury following a four-day trial at the court last month.

READ MORESchool worker sexually assaulted teacher on night out

Bennion was also cleared of charges of sexually assaulting two former pupils and to having sex and exposing himself to a third girl at various locations in East Lothian in 2014.

The disgraced school worker returned to the dock for sentencing on Monday, where Sheriff Matthew Auchincloss placed Bennion on the sex offenders' register for six months.

He was also placed under the supervision of the local authority’s social work department for the same length of time.

The high school cannot be identified due to legal reasons.

The trial heard from the assault victim, who said that she was a first-year probationary teacher and had attended a staff Christmas party at the Voodoo Rooms in Edinburgh in December 2018.

She said during the evening, she had been verbally abused by another male member of staff and, while walking towards the toilet, Bennion had approached her.

'I felt degraded'

She said: “Later in the evening I was upset as another member of staff had said some comments to me and, as I was walking away, Graeme appeared in front of me.

“He slapped my bum and called me loose.

"I pushed him and told him to f*** off and walked towards the toilet.

“I felt degraded and felt really upset. It made me feel like a piece of dirt.”

The teacher told the jury that she told another member of staff what had happened and had subsequently reported the assault to school management.

The trial also heard from three women who claimed that Bennion had sexually assaulted them while they were all 17 years old in 2014.

One woman said that she was still at school when he had groped her leg in the back of a taxi before leading her down a secluded lane to have sex against a wall in an East Lothian town.

Two former pupils at the school also gave evidence that Bennion had tried to kiss them outside a pub after bumping into him when they were just teenagers.

But Bennion was acquitted of all those charges after the jury returned not proven verdicts.

An East Lothian Council spokesperson said: “We are aware of the court proceedings against a former member of staff that have resulted in criminal conviction.

“We are appalled by the offence which this individual has been convicted of, as the safety and wellbeing of all staff is of the highest priority to the council.”