A court today heard disturbing allegations of a teacher engaging in a highly inappropriate relationship with a vulnerable 14-year-old pupil, ultimately resulting in sexual activity.
Ellie Pattison, 29, had developed a friendship with the schoolgirl, who was in care, and manipulated her into believing they were in love. During this period, Pattison was in a same-sex relationship. They met frequently outside of school.
These alleged incidents occurred between 2017 and 2018, when Pattison, then 23, worked as a teaching assistant at a secondary school, primarily responsible for children in care. The pair exchanged intimate text messages and even installed cameras in their bedrooms to maintain contact at night.
Hove Crown Court was informed that Pattison engaged in sexual activities with the teenager in various locations, including a car, a rented flat, and a friend's apartment.
The teenager remembered an occasion when Pattison picked her up in her car and kissed her, after she had consumed much alcohol earlier that evening.
She cried: "I didn't really have any feeling for her (Pattison) like that before. I didn't want it like that but I didn't want to lose her because she was the only thing I had."
"It's f***** me up so bad that I can't even have a relationship with anyone anymore. Every time I see a silver Peugeot I'm looking to see if it is her."
The secret 'relationship' came to light after a teenager's friend witnessed Pattison sharing a 'passionate' kiss with her and subsequently filed a complaint.
Prosecutor Sarah Lindop elaborated: "She witnessed some kissing. It was not just a peck on the check. It was more than kissing. It was kissing and inserting their tongues into each other's mouths."
Subsequently, school authorities suspended Pattison from her position and the school, and her partner also reported her to the police.
Pattison currently faces trial for three charges of engaging in penetrative sexual acts with a girl aged 13 to 15, along with two additional counts of non-penetrative sexual activities with the minor, occurring at different places in East Sussex.
Prosecutor Lindop continued: "She formed an inappropriate and sexual relationship with this 14-year-old girl."
"She abused her position of trust but also made the complainant, who was a vulnerable child, believe it was a real relationship and that she loved her."
Following her arrest, Pattison acknowledged having a close relationship with the teenager but refuted any allegations of sexual engagement.
She stated to the officers: "No, nothing like this ever happened.' The trial will continue this week in Hove Crown Court."