A teacher has been cleared of sexually assaulting five boys at a school in Kirklees.
Brendan O’Brien hugged his wife and family after being acquitted at Leeds Crown Court today on all charges.
The seven woman five man jury took just over an hour to unanimously find the teacher not guilty on 17 charges of sexual assault and one of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.
Mr O’Brien, 45 of Barnsley Road, Barnsley did not wish to say anything after the case.
The boys, who were taught by him in three different years at the school, had claimed in most cases he touched or rubbed their thigh or genital area over their clothes.
Mr O’Brien, who qualified as a teacher in 1998 after obtaining a degree at Sheffield Hallam University, had previously taught in Doncaster and Barnsley.
He said he was shocked when he was accused last year and always denied any sexual misconduct. “I know I didn’t do any of these things,” he told the jury.
He said he would crouch down by the pupils and sometimes tap them on the knee and give them a thumbs up if he was impressed by something they had written during English when everybody was being quiet and writing.
But he told the jury he had never touched children in the way the boys were alleging.