Ballet teacher, 41, is CLEARED of sexually abusing students at prestigious dance school

A ballet teacher was today accused of sexually assaulting students at a prestigious dance school while in a position of trust.

Jonathan Barton, 41, was charged with a total of eight sex offenses against eight girls aged 16 to 19 at the dance school in Argyll and Bute between 2004 and 2019.

During the two-week trial, Barton said he had sex with both girls but they were over 18 years old. He also claimed that he was not the teacher of any of the girls he had sex with.

The ballet teacher also said the women who testified in court lied and that he was the victim of an online conspiracy.

Barton, from Oban, was found not guilty of one charge alleging he was in a “position of trust” when he had sex with the student. The jury found Barton was not proven on another charge of sexual intercourse while in a position of trust against another girl.

Barton was found not guilty of further charges of sexual abuse against six other girls.

Photos today show Jonathan Barton looking expressionless as he arrived at Dumbarton Court with his hands in his pockets.

Photos today show Jonathan Barton looking expressionless as he arrived at Dumbarton Court with his hands in his pockets.

Sheriff William Gallagher said: “The verdict on each charge is that you are acquitted by the jury and are free to walk.”

Dumbarton Sheriff Court heard from the woman, who joined the school in September 2004 aged 16.

The woman said she “respected” Barton, whom she described as a “talented man.” She said the “flirtatious” Barton was “touchy-feely” and paid special attention to her in class.

The woman claimed Barton first kissed her when she was 16, outside the chalet she shared with other students on campus. She claimed she first had sex with Barton when he asked her to go to his bedroom after dark.

The woman said Barton showed her his medals from prestigious competitions. She stated, “He said if you stay with me, one day you can get one of these yourself.” I didn’t look into it too much – it was a little creepy.”

Prosecutor Dana Barclay asked the witness how she felt about having sex with Barton and she replied: “I think nervousness was the main feeling – I shouldn’t do this.

“You’re young and someone you completely admire pays attention to you—it’s a completely different feeling.”

The woman recalled another incident where she had sex with Barton in the shower at home. She said: “I think in some ways it was exciting, this was someone you admired, there was such a level of shame and confusion afterwards.”

Miss Barclay asked the witness if she had told other pupils about where she had been.

Barton, 41, is accused of ten offenses against the girls when they were under 18, and of being in a position of trust as a teacher at the school while they were students.

Barton, 41, is accused of ten offenses against the girls when they were under 18, and of being in a position of trust as a teacher at the school while they were students.

The woman replied: “No, it is common knowledge that Jonathan sleeps with students.”

She stated that Barton’s feelings towards her had changed and she felt that he was “punishing” her. The woman added that the level of attention he paid to her had decreased.

The woman told the court she left ballet school at the end of the school year because she did not like the environment and suffered from severe anxiety.

Miss Barclay asked what the reason was and the woman replied: “Everything changes and the way I was treated.”

Miss Barclay: “Who changed the way they treated you?”

Woman: “Jonathan.”

The 33-year-old claimed she had a sexual “affair” with Barton and compared the school to a “cult”. She stated that in 2006, at the age of 16, she also went to school where she took private dance lessons.

The woman claimed she kissed the “charismatic” Barton, who corrected her dance positions with a “lingering touch.”

She stated that she began a relationship with Barton from November 2006 to June 2007.

The woman said: “At 16, I thought I was meeting my Prince Charming, who I thought saved me.”

Miss Barclay: “Did you think you were in a relationship at 16?”

Witness: “Yes.”

The woman recalled an incident when she was asked to “sneak into” Barton’s room.

She said: “We were lying on his bed talking and the situation escalated. We kissed and ended up having sex.”

The woman said Barton told her to leave through the back deck adjacent to his bedroom.

Miss Barclay asked the witness how she felt and she replied: “I felt special, I felt wanted, I felt excited. It was like I had a great relationship with this person who helped me through this difficult time. I felt like I had met my Prince Charming.

The woman claimed the relationship ended after she gave him an ultimatum to choose between her and his then-girlfriend.

The woman said she contacted police about Barton after she had her own child.

The woman said: “Once I had the baby, my little boy, I just felt like the only way to describe it, because the school is so far away, is almost like a bubble or a cult. You’ve just been brainwashed into this bubble at the top.”

Gary McAteer, defending, asked the witness whether the school could be called a cult school.

She replied: “It was like a cult – that’s how I felt, that’s how I describe it to someone who’s never been there.”

The court was read a police statement from the 21-year-old former student. She stated that Barton “regularly” corrected her, touched her on various parts of her body and brought his hand to her private parts. She claimed that the time he spent around her “was something he did for sexual pleasure.”

Barton claimed in his testimony that he had sex with both girls, who he said were over 18 years old.

Ms Barclay said: “If these girls were 18 you would not be facing these charges, this is a desperate lie as you are being held accountable for what could be described as predatory behaviour.”

Barton responded: “I’m trying to explain what happened under oath.”

He also denied the grooming allegations against him.

The Fiscal MP said: “Are you asking the jury to believe that these women were engaged in some form of conspiracy against you?”

Barton replied: “Yes, I saw this conspiracy come together on the Internet – they were messaging each other. I witnessed this first hand.”

Ms Barclay: “Your position is that eight women came to this court to lie to the police, gave evidence and lied to the jury under oath?”

Barton: “Yes.”