A teacher who impersonated a 14-year-old girl in order to accuse one of her male colleagues of sexual assault has been found guilty on Tuesday (31 January 2017) of malicious communications. Sheena Boll, 35, of Forest Gate in east London, called Childline and pretended to be a teenage girl from the school she worked at in Newham, in order to falsely claim she been sexually assaulted by a male member of staff who worked alongside her with special-needs youngsters.
While ringing the helpline and pretending to be the vulnerable girl, Boll claimed the male teacher sexually assaulted her and showed a "worrying level of personal interest in her" to the point that she avoided him within school.
An investigation from police into the source of the call, made in March 2016, eventually led to Boll's arrest.
It later emerged that she had a history of making formal complaints to police against employees of organisations and businesses before eventually withdrawing them, telling officers she had reached a private resolution with the subjects of the complaints.
Appearing at Thames Magistrates Court in London, Boll was given a custodial sentence of 11 weeks, suspended for two years and ordered to take part in 200 hours of community service. She was also placed under an overnight curfew with an electronic tag for a month and put under 12 months' supervision by probation. She had already been sacked from the school following her arrest.
In a victim statement, the male teacher – who is still employed by the school – described how the false allegations "sickens and angers" him.
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'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."