Music teacher jailed for 17 years for grooming underage girls

Written by By Zahra Riza, CNN

A musical teacher and father of three has been jailed for 17 years for grooming underage girls into sexual relationships and rape.

Duncan Hoopes, 49, received the prison sentence in Bristol Crown Court on Thursday. The court heard that the former teacher, who had taught music for 19 years, had sexually assaulted and raped his victims over a period of five years.

Three victims, all aged 15 and 16 at the time of the abuse, gave evidence in court, relating to incidents which took place at his home and at various music venues. Two of them provided evidence via telephone.

In one instance, Hoopes threatened to publish naked photographs of his victims if they told anyone about their relationship with him.

“That sort of thinking has to stop,” Judge Felicity Purdy told Hoopes on Thursday. “You are not only risking the destruction of young lives, you are also endangering them in that you have been grooming them for years to act out those fantasies.

“You should have known better and you must have realized you were ending up in prison.”

The judge sentenced Hoopes to 13 years for the rape of one victim, while another received an eight-year sentence for “indecent assault and making indecent images of children.” The sentences will run concurrently.

“Those photographs depict very serious sexual activity, in addition to what they might refer to as ‘fine attention to detail,’ they depict sexual contact with the child’s upper body,” Judge Purdy told the court.

Hoopes’ history of offending dates back to 1999 when he was first warned of his behavior by the police, although he had not been charged with a crime. He has now been convicted of 27 offenses relating to sexual activity with 10 victims, the youngest of whom was just 10 years old.

In one incident, Hoopes filmed himself having sex with a 10-year-old girl.

According to Bristol Live, one victim told the court about her ordeal: “When you’re scared the only way to act like a child is not to scream or run away. You suffer from it for a very long time.”

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