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A name changer

A British teacher, accused of sexual offences against 36 Spanish children aged between four and eight, is currently being held in Soto del Real prison in Madrid awaiting trial. Spanish police were alerted by counterparts in Australia after they found pornographic photographs of his victims on the dark web. 

The 31-year-old, known in Spain as Ben David Rose, was working at a British-style international school in Madrid, having also taught in a state-subsidised private school and a private language academy, as well as taking a post as an au pair for a family in Zaragoza.

Acting on a tip-off from his fellow teachers, local English language news website The Olive Press established that the man had previously been convicted of child abuse in the UK courts under his birth name Ben David Lewis. He had been given a two-year suspended sentence and banned from travelling abroad. 

The day after his conviction, Lewis changed his name by deed poll, a legal procedure which takes just 15 minutes online in the UK. He then successfully applied for a British passport in his new name, before setting off to work in Spain. The Olive Press was also provided with a British Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) record check for sex offenders and a Certificate of Qualified Teacher Status, both in the name Ben David Rose. 

Spanish Police confirm that a number of forged documents, including a DBS certificate, were found in Rose’s house, along with the tools needed to create them. As the police statement points out: “in Spain it is a legal requirement whenever working with children to present a certificate that proves the lack of a criminal record for a crime of a sexual nature.”

Image courtesy of Robert Tjalondo on Unsplash
Melanie Butler
Melanie Butler
Melanie started teaching EFL in Iran in 1975. She worked for the BBC World Service, Pearson/Longman and MET magazine before taking over at the Gazette in 1987 and also launching Study Travel magazine. Educated in ten schools in seven countries, she speaks fluent French and Spanish and rather rusty Italian.
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