Ballet teacher acquitted of sexual assaults on teenage pupils

A ballet teacher accused of sexually assaulting teenage pupils has been acquitted of all charges.

Jonathan Barton, 41, faced eight charges against eight different women during a trial at Dumbarton Sheriff Court.

Six of the charges alleged sexual assault by touching during ballet classes.

Two alleged “abuse of position of trust” relating to sexual relationships. Barton said he had sex with both girls but insisted they were over the age of 18.

The charges ranged from 2004 until 2019.

One of the women who accused Barton of abuse of position of trust said in evidence: “I don’t want to be a victim, but was I groomed?

“That brainwashed part says ‘it’s fine’. The mum part of my brain says ‘he took you at a time when you were really vulnerable’.”

Barton, of Argyll, denied the allegations and the jury was shown videos of other ballet teachers touching pupils in areas including their thighs.

He said the physical corrections were necessary within ballet for “safety” and to avoid injury.

Barton told the jury: “I can assure you it’s not as simple as that, if you didn’t have the opportunity to feel the correction, you will not understand the full physicality of what you need to do.”

The ballet teacher was found not guilty of all six allegations of sexual assault by touching after a two-and-a-half-week trial.

He was found not guilty of one charge of abusing a position of trust and not proven on the other.

Sheriff William Gallacher told him: “You are free to go.”