A WOMAN claimed it was “quite common knowledge” that a ballet teacher she looked up to had sex with his students.
Jonathan Barton, 41, is on trial at Dumbarton Sheriff Court accused of a total of 10 sexual offences against nine students.
The 35-year-old woman told a jury that there were episodes of sexual conduct between them from 2004 to 2006.
She stated she had sex with him at a ballet school she attended in Argyll and Bute where Barton lived and worked.
The woman said that they also had sex at a hostel in Stirling while away on tour.
Barton, of Oban, is accused of having sex with two students which court papers state is a “breach of trust.”
The charges span between September 2004 and July 2019.
A total of nine alleged victims were female students aged between 16 and 18.
The court heard from one of the women who stated that she was successful in auditioning for the ballet school in May 2004.
She said had initially travelled to the school from England to do so.
The woman claimed that she started at the school and resided in a chalet and caravan with other students on site in September 2004 when under 18.
She added that Barton, other members of his family lived at the school.
Prosecutor Dana Barclay asked how she felt about travelling to a different place to study.
She replied: “I just wanted to dance, I would have travelled to the end of the earth.”
The woman claimed that the school “fully immersed” its students which included eating right, being competitive in hope to gain professional contracts upon leaving.
The witness stated that the school went on tours as a company at various locations in Scotland.
The woman said she “looked up” to Barton who she also described as being a “talented individual.”
She stated that Barton was “flirtatious” with her as well as “touchy feely” when giving her extra attention at classes.
The woman claimed that Barton first kissed her when she was 16 outside of a chalet she stayed in with other students near the school.
Miss Barclay asked the woman how she felt about the kiss and she replied: “I guess a few feelings, confused at that age, slightly flattered.”
The woman recalled being asked to go to Barton’s bedroom when it was dark.
She stated she had to climb up a ladder at the back of the property to get in.
The woman said Barton showed her his medals from a prestigious competition.
The woman stated: “He said if you stick with me, you can have one of these yourself one day. I didn’t read into it too much – it was a little creepy.”
She initially stated that she had sex with Barton for the first time after kissing him.
Miss Barclay asked the witness how she felt about it and she replied: “I think nervous was the overriding feeling I shouldn’t be doing this.
“You are young and someone you completely admire is giving you attention is a different feeling.”
The woman recalled another occasion when she had sex with Barton in a shower at the property.
She said: “I guess in a way it was exciting, this was someone that you admired, there was that level of ashamed after it and confused.”
Miss Barclay asked the witness if she told other pupils about where she had been.
She replied: “No, it was quite common knowledge that Jonathan would sleep with students.”
The woman stated that the thing between them felt the same “until it wasn’t.”
She stated there was a change of feeling from Barton towards her and felt she was being “punished” by him.
The woman added that there was a change in the level of attention that he gave towards her.
She stated that she went on tour with Barton to Stirling for a production of the Chorus Line.
The witness said that she and Barton had sex in a room at a hostel away from other colleagues.
She stated that she felt that it was a “stupid thing to do” and “regretful.”
The woman added that Barton’s behaviour towards her at the school after it did not change.
The woman told the court that she left the ballet school at the end of the school year due to not liking the environment and dealing with severe anxiety.
Miss Barclay asked what this was a result of and the woman replied: “Things changing and the way I was treated.”
Miss Barclay: “Who changed the way you were treated?”
The woman: “Jonathan.”
The fiscal depute lastly asked the witness how she felt about giving evidence against Barton.
She replied: “Nervous, angry, very angry.”
Miss Barclay: “Why are you angry?”
The woman: “I’m angry as it brings back a lot of trauma.
“I have a really nice life at home and I have had to get away from that and it p****s me off.”
Gary McAteer, defending, put it to the woman that she was 18 when Barton had sex with her in Stirling which she later accepted.
Mr McAteer asked if she consented which she replied: “Yes, he didn’t rape me congratulations, he didn’t rape me, he asked for consent.”
The lawyer also suggested that the woman told police that the first time they had sex was in the shower which she also accepted.
It was further put to the woman that she did not tell officers about the kiss at the chalet and that it happened in his bedroom while watching a Liverpool football match.
Jurors were told Barton got the woman’s phone number after picking her up from a shopping trip.
Mr McAteer stated that the car was registered to drive in the UK in September 2006 when the woman was aged 18.
He also suggested that the woman told police that except for the kiss, the two sex acts took place after the incident where she was picked up.
The woman refuted this stating that she was “definitely not” over 18.
It also emerged that Barton was acquitted of a charge in a summary trial of making a remark in class.
Jurors were also told there was dispute over unpaid fees to the school after she left.
Mr McAteer put to the witness that the pair had a “short lived affair” over weeks and months.
She replied: “Affair is a strong word.
“It was a pupil and teacher – it wasn’t an affair or relationship as such.
“It’s not how I would describe an affair or relationship.
“Jonathan might have had an affair as he had an on-off partner.”
Mr McAteer asked if it was possible that the sexual activity happened after she turned 18.
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The woman replied: “Some of it could have but it started when I was 16.”
The trial continues tomorrow before Sheriff William Gallacher.