Teacher struck off after accusations of vile sex acts on young boys

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A former teacher at two Jewish schools in Salford has been struck off after being accused of ‘unacceptable professional conduct’ with two young boys.

Mr Yankel Shepherd, 57, was accused of having inappropriate physical contact and sexual activity with a 12-year-old boy, and also kissing and stroking a pupil while teaching at a school.

A professional conduct panel for the Teaching Regulation Agency prohibited Mr Shepherd from teaching indefinitely after hearing evidence regarding the two incidents in the 1980s and in 2018.

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The panel heard how, in the 1980s, Mr Shepherd had approached a 12-year-old boy who had been attending an activities group for boys at a Jewish community center her.

One afternoon, the boy – identified only as Child A – was asked to sit on Mr Shepherd’s lap while they looked at a magazine together.

Mr Shepherd then proceeded to touch the boy.

Over a period of months, the panel were told the touching progressed to sexual contact.

The panel stated: “Child A explained in oral evidence that, at the time, he didn’t really have any friends, was a loner and had been very quiet.

“He had started school without speaking English and that had impacted upon his confidence.

“I explained that he didn’t have the attention of his parents. He stated that he felt pressured and complied with Mr Shepherd’s requests, and felt confused as he had not had any sexual experiences prior to this, nor did he know anything about sex.”

Mr Shepherd was arrested while teaching at the separate Talmud Torah Chinuch Norim School

A few months later, Mr Shepherd unsuccessfully tried to engage in a sexual act with the boy.

In evidence, the boy stated it became a regular feature for Mr Shepherd to push him against the wall where he would then kiss and rub his genitals against him.

One on occasion, Mr Shepherd asked Child A to lie on the floor while Mr Shepherd performed a sex act.

The panel explained: “It was when Child A started developing himself sexually and was going through puberty that Child A states that he began to have some inkling that something was wrong with his contact with Mr Shepherd.

“He felt more and more uncomfortable and stopped attending the Jewish Community Center.”

Despite this, Child A said he continued to see Mr Shepherd at a local synagogue where he would be encouraged to engage in sexual contact.

“Child A stated that he has decided not to allow himself contact or engage with Mr Shepherd at the synagogue.

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“Notwithstanding this, Mr Shepherd called him at home, asking him to go to the office at the Jewish Community Centre, and asked to visit Child A at home.

“Child A stated that he refused and the contact between them stopped.”

Years later, in September 2012, Child A bumped into Mr Shepherd at a celebration event and warned him that ‘I’ll get you one day’.

Two months later, Child A made allegations to the police relating to the incidents.

At the time, Mr Shepherd was working at Talmud Torah Chinuch N’Orim School and was subsequently arrested. I have later left the school.

A police statement written by a children’s social worker who visited Mr Shepherd in November 2012 said to her words to the effect of: “what if someone had made a foolish mistake all of those years ago, when not married, but had learned from that” .

When she asked if Mr Shepherd was implying something had happened, he replied “no”.

She has also stated that during a second meeting with Mr Shepherd he “admitted that there had been some incidents with a boy when he lived in London.

“He said he deeply regrets it and he is remorseful. He said he was young and confused.”

Another social worker who attended the second meeting added: “He told us that he had recently seen the boy in question at a Jewish function in 2012.

“This male approached him and said to him: ‘This will catch up with you’.”

However, the police investigation came to an end in summer 2013 after Child A decided they no longer wished to give evidence against Mr Shepherd.

The panel was told that Child A had made a retraction statement to the police stating that he could no longer support the case in court, but insisted the accusations were true.

Second allegation

Mr Shepherd was also accused of inappropriate contact with another child in 2018 – this time identified only as Pupil X.

Mr Shepherd had been working at Oholei Yosef Yitzchok Lubavitch School when the incidents were said to have taken place. He was suspended and left the school in October 2018.

The panel heard how the boy stated Mr Shepherd had kissed him, hugged him and stroked his face.

Mr Shepherd was a teacher at two Jewish schools (stock image)

The panel explained: “Pupil X was very clear that he did not like the unwanted physical contact from Mr Shepherd and that he not only wanted it to stop, but had reported it on several occasions in an effort to make it stop.”

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Despite Pupil X reporting the incident to his parents, who then confronted Mr Shepherd about his behaviour, the physical contact began again just weeks later.

The report stated: “During the interview, Pupil X was particularly able to articulate the relief he felt after Mr Shepherd’s contact stopped, when Pupil X’s parents had confronted Mr Shepherd about his behavior and also his dismay when that physical contact had begun again three weeks. later.

“Pupil X was clearly able to distinguish between such contact from his parents, which he enjoyed, and Mr Shepherd behaving in the same way towards him, which he described as being inappropriate for a teacher.

“Pupil X was clearly able to describe the locations where the actions had taken place, and also that they had not recurred once Mr Shepherd was told to hold his sessions with Pupil X in a location where there was a camera present.”

In a police interview, Mr Shepherd said he had physical contact with Pupil X in relation to preparing for his bar mitzvah and assisting with garments, but that had been the extent of any contact.

The panel denied that Pupil X could have confused this contact with kissing, hugging and stroking.

The panel said it was satisfied that both incidents related to conduct of a sexual nature and/or sexually motivated.

The report wrote: “Both children were individuals who were vulnerable and who Mr Shepherd managed to have access to on a one to one basis.

“Mr Shepherd may well have formed the view that neither child was likely to report the behaviour, or that they would be unlikely to be believed, if they had.”

It added: “The panel found Mr Shepherd’s actions to be calculated, and were more likely than not for his own sexual gratification.

The following services will also provide treatment or support, and can refer you to another service if you need more specialist help.

“Even after Pupil X’s parents told him to stop, Mr Shepherd does not appear to have been able to control his behavior and resumed the physical contact some three weeks later.”

While Mr Shepherd was not a teacher at the time of the incident with Child A, the panel said the ‘abhorrent nature of the conduct’ gave rise to concerns ‘regarding his access to children’.

The report stated: “The emotional and psychological impact of Mr Shepherd’s actions continue to affect Child A today, many years on from those events.

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“Mr Shepherd’s conduct clearly fell short of the standards of behavior of the profession that he went on to join.”

The panel said it was satisfied that Mr Shepherd was guilty of unacceptable professional conduct in respect of his conduct in relation to Pupil X.

The panel further found that Mr Shepherd’s conduct in relation to Child A and Pupil X brought upon ‘both unacceptable professional conduct and conduct that may bring the profession into disrepute’.

The report added: “His actions towards Pupil X breached his position of trust as a teacher.

“As an adult in a position which gave him access to children, he abused that position by engaging in sexual conduct with Child A.

“The panel has found that Mr Shepherd’s actions were deliberate, calculated and sexually motivated.”

Mr Shepherd denied the allegations made against him and did not attend the hearing, saying he had since left the education sector and will not return.

Alan Meyrick, Chief Executive of the Teaching Regulation Agency, made a decision on behalf of the Secretary of State and said the panel had found ‘particularly serious’ findings of misconduct by Mr Shepherd.

Mr Meyrick wrote: “Mr Shepherd has demonstrated no acceptance of guilt, and no remorse or contrition for his behavior to this panel.

“While he stated he felt remorseful in relation to a partial admission he made to social workers in relation to Child A, he has gone on to deny the allegations, leading to Child A giving evidence in these Proceedings.

“In my judgement, the lack of full remorse means that there is some risk of the repetition of this behavior and this puts at risk the future well-being of children, including pupils.”

On behalf of the Secretary of State, Mr Meyrick added: “In my view, it is necessary to impose a prohibition order in order to maintain public confidence in the profession.

“This means that Mr Yankel Shepherd is prohibited from teaching indefinitely and cannot teach in any school, sixth form college, relevant youth accommodation or children’s home in England.

“Furthermore, in view of the seriousness of the allegations found proved against him, I have decided that Mr Yankel Shepherd shall not be entitled to apply for restoration of his eligibility to teach.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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