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EFL teacher behind bars at last

British EFL teacher Ben David Lewis, known in Spain as Ben David Rose, has been sentenced to 138 years in jail by a Spanish court for eight counts of making child pornography, one of inflicting degrading treatment, 32 privacy offences and one count of forgery. 

Already convicted of child pornography in the UK in 2016, Lewis, who had been handed a suspended sentence and ordered to register as a sex offender, legally changed his surname by deed poll the day after his conviction and was issued a new passport. As the Gazette reported in 2020, this case shows how the British system of allowing citizens to opt to change their name without any checks by the authorities has exposed a major loophole in the system where employers check teachers against the Sex Offenders Register.

By forging references and teaching qualifications, Lewis was able to obtain a position as an au pair in Spain and later worked as an EFL teacher in Madrid before being taken on as a teacher at a local international school. Housemates who worked at the same school are believed to have discovered images of children along with a cache of documents and reported him to local police. 

“It doesn’t surprise me if this man has changed his name and gone abroad with a new identity,” Emily Konstantas, CEO of the Safeguarding Alliance, said a in 2020. “As shocking as this is, it’s not new and it will continue to happen unless the UK gets a grip on their sex offenders. Our failure, a UK failure, is putting the rest of the world at risk.”

Image courtesy of Ichigo121212 from Pixabay
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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