Mark Moody, 47, had been caretaker at the Mount Church of England Primary School in Newark for 12 years, but said his position had became untenable following uproar from parents when his partner Emma Sullivan, 33, announced plans for the business.
Parents accused him of wanting to open a sex shop even though 80% of what the store sells is lingerie.
Mr Moody said it became an issue after his partner uploaded an image of sample adult toys she intended to sell to her personal Facebook page. A hand on the picture holding one of the items was identified as Mr Moody’s by a tattoo and was posted on a community Facebook page by somebody who took a screenshot.
It was claimed there was a direct link between Mr Moody and the new business and, therefore, the business and the school, leading parents to petition against his employment.
He resigned before a disciplinary hearing earlier this month after claiming his position was untenable.
But this week his partner hit back, saying that she owns and runs the business entirely by herself. “I thought about an Ann Summers-type shop of the sort you see on any high street. It was to be 70%-80% lingerie for plus-size women, which Newark doesn’t have, and the rest sex toys, lubricants and condoms,” she told The Newark Advertiser.
The shop, called Spellbound, opened within an existing store that Sullivan runs selling e-cigarettes. She said the decision to diversify into lingerie was down to the negative impact that government regulation of the e-cigarette market could have on her existing business.
“I was upset and very angry that Mark could be treated in that way when it really was nothing to do with him,” she continued. “We are a couple but we had our own business interests and our own incomes. It is ridiculous to suggest there was any link between the school and the sex industry. The shop isn’t offending anyone. I could understand if the window was full of bondage gear and whips.”
Sullivan said that prior to opening she had informed school officials that there would be a few adult-themed items, but that the store would mainly stock lingerie.
Alan Batty, Newark and Sherwood District Council’s environmental health business manager, told the paper that it is currently assessing whether Spellbound it conforms to the requirements of the law or requires a licence.
“Such a licence would be required if a significant part of the business is to sell, hire, exchange, lend, display or demonstrate articles related to sex or sexual activity,” he said. “It would appear, however, that there are only a very small amount of adult items on sale and we will discuss the matter further with the proprietor.”
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