A college technician used a classroom computer to view escort websites during working hours, a misconduct hearing has been told.
Stephen Davies is accused of scrolling through explicit sites including “AdultZone” and “XEscorts”, which he blamed on students using his account to play a “practical joke” on him.
On Monday the Education Workforce Council (EWC) was told the building service technician’s alleged behaviour at Cardiff and Vale College in Rumney, Cardiff, constituted unacceptable professional conduct.
Case presenter Cadi Dewi told the remote hearing an IT tracking system used by the college, eSafe, flagged up inappropriate use of a classroom computer and took pictures of some of the websites it had visited.
“The staff member with responsibility for monitoring safeguarding issues received a notification that a user by the name of S Davies had typed in ‘Cardiff escorts’ on a Google search engine and had accessed websites that contained nudity and an international directory of escorts,” she said.
“A report in respect of Davies’ browsing history revealed he had accessed two specific websites at UKAdultZone.com, and XEscorts.com during working hours.”
Ms Dewi said the college IT department confirmed Mr Davies appeared to be logged in between 9.07am to 9.57am on May 14, 2019, during which the account was used to access sites including AdultZone and XEscort.
The sites contained “graphic and inappropriate material for a school environment”, Ms Dewi said.
Mr Davies was interviewed by the college but denied being logged in for the session and suggested that other people in the college may have seen him type in his password and then used his account to access the sites “as a joke”.
Ms Dewi said Mr Davies could not explain why other websites he had admitted to visiting throughout the day, including ones relating to Brexit and foreign properties on Rightmove, were also searched for during the session.
Mr Davies’ claim he was not in the computer classroom at the time but instead in a nearby workshop was denied by witnesses during an internal investigation, Ms Dewi said.
Nicholas Ions, deputy head of schools and sixth form at the college, said Mr Davies told him he thought the website searches “might have been a practical joke by the students”.
Mr Ions said he had told college investigators he was “not aware of any reason whatsoever Stephen Davies would be accessing these websites for work purposes”.
He said other websites accessed by Mr Davies’ account but which had not had pictures taken of by the college’s IT system included VivaStreet.co.uk, WetForever.com, and PerfectPetals-Escorts.com.
Students are not allowed to use the computer classroom without a tutor or lecturer being present, Mr Ions said, although they would have been elsewhere in the building at the time.
Building course tutor Alex Mackie told the hearing that Mr Davies was liked by students and was “quite a soft character” meaning learners “tend to get away with a few things”.
Mr Davies declined to attend the hearing and has not engaged with the EWC process, the panel was told.
The panel are therefore proceeding on the presumption he denies the allegations of accessing websites on a college computer containing inappropriate content; and/or adult material during working hours; and/or in a college classroom.
The hearing continues.