A FORMER South Tyneside music teacher who admitted groping a schoolboy has walked free from court because he would not receive sex offender treatment if he was behind bars.

But because David Kaye, 47, was not sent to jail, Judge Richard Lowden was prevented by law from banning him from working with children in the future.

Kaye, who was in the teaching profession for 29 years, pleaded guilty to two charges of indecent assault and one of possessing indecent photos of children, relating to child porn he downloaded from the Internet.

Newcastle Crown Court heard how Kaye, who hid a lifetime of homosexual tendencies, had "manufactured" a situation so he could be alone with a 16-year-old boy and groped him twice as he slept after a party.

The court heard how Kaye had a "completely inappropriate fantasy in respect of the young boy" and on the night of the attacks had borrowed some of the teen's trendy clothing and spiked his hair up with gel.

As well as birthday and other greetings cards, Kaye had sent the youngster a mock certificate which read "Certificate of Merit - This is to certify that (boy's name) has attained level 16 in Smut Studies".

Kaye worked at Boldon Comprehensive for 18 years until he took up a post as head of music at Hebburn Comprehensive in 1985.

He was sacked from Hebburn in 1996 but remained involved with drama groups.

The court heard probation service reports indicated he poses a moderate risk of re-offending.

But a period of less than four years in jail would mean he received no treatment for his inappropriate desires while behind bars.

And when Judge Lowden asked prosecutor Robin Patton to explain the sentencing provisions which would allow him to impose a ban to prevent Kaye working with children, he was told under the Criminal Justice and Courts Services Act 2000, that can only be done when a sentence of 12 months or more is passed.

Judge Lowden said: "I could impose a sentence not long enough to attract sex offender treatment in prison which would effect your release with a moderate risk of re-offending unaddressed.

"Or I could impose a community rehabilitation order with a treatment condition designed to address the cognitive distortions leading to your actions and reduce the risk of you re-offending."

Judge Lowden sentenced him to a two-year community rehabilitation order and said he must register as a sex offender for 10 years.

The judge said: "I am doing this because I am more concerned with the outcome that the risk or re-offending is reduced to the extent that no-one else suffers what the young boy suffered in this case.

"What happened to him cannot be undone and cannot be underestimated."

Mr Patton said the education authorities will be notified about the conviction and he will lose his registration, meaning he cannot teach again.

But nothing can prevent him from continuing to work with drama or music in a non-professional capacity.

Kaye has now moved from his home in Whitefield Crescent, Penshaw, and is living in South Yorkshire.

Defence barrister Peter Schofield said he felt "deep regret for what took place".

He added: "Quite genuinely he makes through me a complete apology for his behaviour."