Fine arts professor loses court battle against his sacking for sleeping with student

The 55-year-old fine arts professor was fired by the University of Reading in 2014 after it came to light he had slept with a 25-year-old before marking her final dissertation.


                            Fine arts professor loses court battle against his sacking for sleeping with student
(Source:Getty Images)

After a four-year battle in the courts, a British fine art professor has lost his job for having sex with a student half his age and thereby cheating on his supermodel wife.

55-year-old Dr. Jonathan Dronsfield had sex with the 25-year-old student before marking her final dissertation, leading to him being sacked by Reading University in 2014.

According to reports, after an alcohol fuelled soiree at a London Hotel, which was held for the inauguration of an art gallery exhibition, the duo slept together.

Back then, Dronsfield claimed that the student "openly pursued" him when he was in a "vulnerable" state and under pressure owing to the fact that his wife was having immigration problems while re-entering the UK. Thus, he subsequently launched a case for "unfair dismissal."

It is still unclear as to why the professor would betray his supermodel wife Anna Bondareva, 37. She is an actress and model who has starred in an advertising campaign for Police sunglasses alongside George Clooney. What's more? She is also a singer-songwriter.

Bondareva has also modeled for Chanel and Christian Dior, once appearing on the television screen alongside French actress Catherine Deneuve.

The Belorussian beauty was at the height of her modeling career at the age of 27 when she married the 45-year-old academic in January 2008.

During a conversation with a Belarussian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda a year into the marriage, Anna proudly said that her husband wholly supported her career, which led to her being spotted by Clooney's agent.

In the same conversation, Bondareva said she had an "English husband – a doctor of philosophy who lectures at universities around the world and writes books". She had moved to Paris at the age of 16 after winning a modeling pageant in her native Minsk.

She added: "We don’t see each other too often. Both of us are traveling around the world all the time. But trust and understanding are important. He understands and supports me in everything."

However, her trust in the relationship was shattered in 2011 after learning that her husband had slept with a student, five years younger to her.

The employment judge presiding over Dronfield's case ruled that the university was right to sack him as he demonstrated "immoral, scandalous or disgraceful behavior incompatible with the office."

The verdict comes after a four year battle at the Watford Employment Tribunal. The academic had already spent thousands of dollars in legal fees in order to win compensation from the court.

The university was first informed of the scandal back in 2013 when an ex-partner of the student complained that Dronsfield, who taught art theory in the institute, had  ‘multiple sexual relationships’ with students after manipulating them under the influence of alcohol.

According to the ex: "He has been having sex with students who he is responsible for tutoring. 

"I do not know how frequently this happens, but I do know he frequently has students come to his office for late night meetings about their dissertations which usually involve large quantities of alcohol...

"I think someone in a position of trust and authority is abusing their position on a regular basis to have sex with young girls."

The anonymous partner said of his ex-girlfriend: "She was going through a breakdown during the full period of her degree. She was in a vulnerable place and he took advantage. He was marking her work and advising on her academic activity."

On the other hand, the student claimed, on condition of anonymity for legal reasons, that she bedded her lecturer twice, often drinking whiskey and port, staying up late at night in his office.

The professor also admitted that the pair exchanged links to an erotic film 'Emmanuelle' and the student turned up at his office with alcohol. Later, they had sex at a nearby hotel.

Dronsfield, from Clapham, South London, was ultimately sacked for having sex with a vulnerable student, abuse of power leading to a conflict of interest, and failing to report the relationship to his employers.

Having said that, it was concluded that the affair had no impact on the student's dissertation and thus, there was no evidence of a 'predatory intent'.

As the embattled professor fought his case, a series of court hearings followed, with the latest taking place in the month of March, this year.

Employment Judge Alastair Smail ruled: "The dismissal was not unfair. He had a sexual relationship with a student he taught and assessed and he did not report it, in breach of the rules.

"Further, the claimant’s attitude to the sexual encounter appeared callous. He did it, he had said, to bring the intimate relationship to an end."

However, the wronged Miss Bondareva declined a request for comment upon being contacted by the Daily Mail. She was markedly absent throughout the length of the proceedings.