Newport teacher made sex attack in PE, trial told

South Wales Argus: Newport teacher made sex attack in PE, trial told Newport teacher made sex attack in PE, trial told

A WOMAN received counselling after being indecently assaulted by her primary school teacher, a court heard yesterday.

The alleged victim, now an adult, was a pupil at a Newport primary school when Mario Morelli, now 77, of Keynsham Avenue, allegedly asked her to give a demonstration of a handstand to the other students during a PE class around 25 years ago and "pulled her legs apart".

At Cardiff Crown Court yesterday, Judge Stephen Hopkins QC directed the jury to return a not guilty plea on count four, which related to a separate incident of indecent assault on the same girl, due to a lack of evidence.

Morelli denies the other seven charges of indecent assault dating back to the late 1980s.

A witness, who was one of the pupils at the class where the alleged offence took place, told the court Morelli brought the female pupil to the front of the class and told her to do a handstand.

The witness then said Morelli held her by the ankles and "pulled her legs apart".

She added: "We were laughing at her. We knew it wasn't right but we did laugh at the time."

Matthew Cobb, prosecuting, then read out a written statement by the father of the alleged victim, who said his daughter had received counselling and was an "unhappy and troubled teenager as a result [of the alleged offences]".

Morelli resigned from his position at the school after being made aware of the allegations because he "felt uncomfortable with myself", the court heard.

These comments came from police interviews between Morelli and Detective Constable Christopher James, leading the investigation, which took place in the summer of 2013.

The correspondence was read out in court by DC James and Mr Cobb, which included further allegations from another pupil at the school.

She alleged Morelli had felt her inappropriately on the bus on the way to school on several occasions and on one separate occasion when she was reading to other pupils from the front of the class.

Morelli briefly started giving evidence yesterday and will continue this morning.

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