A teacher who impersonated a pupil on Childline to falsely accuse a colleague of sexual assault has been convicted of malicious communications.
Sheena Boll, aged 35, of Woodstock Road, E7 in London, pretended to be a 14-year-old girl from the school she worked at in Newham and alleged she had been sexually assaulted by a male member of staff who worked alongside her with special needs youngsters.
Boll (pictured) pleaded guilty and was given a custodial sentence of 11 weeks, suspended for two years, community service of 200 hours and ordered to pay costs and compensation to her victim at Thames Magistrates’ Court. She was also placed under an overnight curfew with an electronic tag for a month and put under 12 months’ supervision by probation during sentencing.
The mother-of-one made her false claims when she phoned the helpline in March 2016, resulting in police launching an investigation into her colleague. Purporting to be a vulnerable teenage girl, she falsely claimed that he had sexually assaulted her and showed a worrying level of personal interest in her to the point she was so uncomfortable that she avoided him within school.
Enquiries by police to identify the source of the Childline claims were undertaken, resulting in Boll being identified. She was arrested in May 2016 and eventually admitted she had made the call herself.
Testimony supplied by other colleagues at the school also contradicted Boll’s claims – and in fact praised the quality of the teaching and the positive and effective manner in which the man she had accused interacted with his students.
During the police investigation it emerged that Boll had a history over the past decade of making numerous formal complaints to police against employees of organisations and businesses – many of which she subsequently withdrew after informing officers she had come to a private resolution with the subjects of the complaints.
Boll was sacked by the school in Newham following her arrest. Her male colleague, who is still working there, detailed the devastating impact the episode had had on him in his victim impact statement which was read out in court.
He said: “I found out that an anonymous call had been made to Childline naming me as a paedophile, in that I had groped the breast of a student. I just didn’t know what to do to convince people that I would never do anything like that to a child – the thought sickens and angers me.
“I felt sick to the stomach and found the whole experience really stressful. I felt like my reputation had been tarnished and I was really distressed and even depressed as a result. I care a lot about what people think of me and I love teaching and making a positive impact on young lives.”
Detective Constable Ben Land, from the Met Police’s Sexual Offences Exploitation and Child Abuse Command, said: “Cases of false claims like this are rare, but do enormous damage to individuals.
“This was a calculated attempt to deceive professionals who are committed to safeguarding the most vulnerable children into believing that this hardworking, dedicated and caring colleague in her school was responsible for abuse against one of their pupils.
“Fortunately Boll’s efforts to mask her true identity were unsuccessful and we have received a positive outcome with the conviction and restoration of the professional reputation of the victim.”