Secondary school teacher attacked fellow choir singer in Edinburgh

Dean Bromage
Dean Bromage's career is in tatters. -Credit:Gordon Currie

A high school music teacher who carried out a sex attack on a fellow Salvation Army choir member has narrowly dodged a prison sentence.

Dean Bromage's teaching career and church involvement lay in tatters after he was found guilty of sexually assaulting a trainee minister.

Sheriff John Rafferty said: "You are aware of the offence you have been convicted of and the consequences that may, and probably will, have on your career.

"The court is very much aware of the courage the witnesses exhibited in coming to court and giving evidence, and the court wishes to recognise that. This must have been a distressing matter which has inevitably had a degree of lasting effect on the complainer."

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Bromage was placed under supervision and on the Sex Offenders Register for two years, and told to perform 180 hours unpaid community work. He was told the sentence was a direct alternative to custody.

The victim told the trial at Dundee Sheriff Court she was groped by Bromage in front of his wife while she was singing in the church's choir.

She was around ten years younger than Bromage when he brazenly ran his hand up her skirt as the group were about to start a charity performance.

The woman, now 25, told the court that Bromage had also touched her inappropriately during another incident at a different Salvation Army hall.

She said she had reported Bromage to senior figures within the religious organisation, but no action had been taken against him that she was aware of.

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It was when she read about him "getting off" with a similar charge in a Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court case that she decided to re-visit what he had done and reported him to the police.

She said the first time Bromage touched her inappropriately was when the music group travelled to Aberdeen to perform in the Salvation Army citadel near Union Square.

The woman, who cannot be identified, said she was hugging a clarinet to warm it up as it was out of tune and Bromage brushed his hand against her breast.

She said she initially thought he may have been brushing off some "pink fluff" from the instrument case, but with hindsight she decided his motives were more sinister.

"He came up to me and he brushed his right hand over my chest. He didn't say anything. I was very confused and I didn't really know what had happened."

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The second incident, she said, took place in Edinburgh - where she was studying - when Bromage stood beside her in the choir during a show to raise funds for Bangladesh.

"I was singing in the choir and playing in the band. The choir had formed and were ready to sing. The leader had turned to tell the audience what we were singing.

"Mr Bromage leaned back to pass a message to those who were in the band. He leaned back into line and as he did so he ran his hand up between my legs.

"I stepped away before he could go any higher. It was going up my leg. It was not appropriate at all. It was unwanted sexual touching. I was outraged.

"He leaned in and said: 'Sorry, that was an accident - but you probably enjoyed it.' I was further outraged. How dare he say something like that?" She said she did not believe it was an accident.

Bromage, 36, Fotheringham Drive, Dundee, was found guilty of sexually assaulting the trainee minister between May 2018 and February 2019 at the Salvation Army Halls in Castle Street, Aberdeen, and Gorgie Road, Edinburgh.

He was found not guilty of acting in a lewd and libidinous manner towards a girl aged between 12 and 16 at West Sands Beach, St Andrews, and Central Salvation Army Hall, Dundee, between March 2008 and 2010. He was accused of taking her for a drive, exposing his penis to her and trying to kiss her.

The girl - now a 27-year-old beautician - said Bromage had offered to give her counselling about another incident which had taken place at the church.

But she said that he drove her to St Andrews, bought a sausage supper, and then exposed himself to her as she sat in the passenger seat of his car.

She said of the original incident involving another person: "The Salvation Army brushed it under the rug and nothing was being done. They weren't helpful and that's why I left.

"I received a message after the incident and he said he wanted to speak to me because he knew I felt I wasn't getting believed about what had happened.

"He was at least six or seven years older. I confirmed I would meet him to go for a chippy. He picked me up and drove to St Andrews. He got himself a sausage supper.

"He finished his food and shortly after that he exposed himself to me. His trousers were undone. I just saw an erect penis. I got out of the car.

"I was devastated. I thought I could confide in him about this incident and for him to then do that - I was horrified. I just felt physically sick. I was in total disbelief.

"It was a long time ago and I tried to block it all out. It was traumatising. I just put a face on and said everything was fine."

Sheriff John Rafferty cleared Bromage of abusing the younger complainer as a result of evidential inconsistencies about dates, but told the teacher that he believed the girl's evidence over his.

He said: "I felt her to be an honest and reliable witness in regards to what happened to her. She did not seek to embellish what happened to her. She did not come to court to lie about what happened."

Bromage said: "I would give people a hug. It was relaxed, almost boyish. It did not help as I got older, with my understanding of spatial awareness.

"There would be the occasional time you would be giving someone a hug and they would be like 'what are you doing?' I would usually try and curb my embarrassment with silly comments - almost class clown style."