Emmerdale teacher Maya Stepney's (Louisa Clein) grooming of smitten pupil Jacob Gallagher (Joe-Warren Plant) saw their inappropriate relationship get increasingly physical on Thursday 17 January when they shared a passionate encounter while locked in the classroom.
But after narrowly escaping exposure, confused Jake delivered a shock ultimatum to manipulative Miss Stepney - unless she finishes her romance with his dad David Metcalfe (Matthew Wolfenden) he wants nothing more to do with her.
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Maya's machinations have ramped up this week, with Jake's latest attempt to impress her by sending a topless selfie picture from his phone backfiring when David accused his girlfriend of cheating due to her secretive behaviour.
Tonight's instalment saw Maya seize her chance of being alone with the impressionable teen at the school careers fair, sneaking him off to an empty classroom with the implied intention they were going to have sex.
The unexpected arrival of Maya's boss Jessie Dingle (Sandra Marvin) put a stop to the forbidden passion, and later back in the village the pair had a clandestine meeting under cover of night. Maya continued to encourage Jacob's attention by promising to arrange extra 'private tuition' as a cover story for them spending time together, but the gullible Gallagher lad floored her by admitting he couldn't handle the guilt of betraying his dad, and insisted nothing else could happen between them unless she finished with David.
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Fans will be hoping this means Maya's sinister grip on the boy is loosening before things spiral further out of control, while children's charity Barnardo's continue to work with Emmerdale on raising awareness of child sexual exploitation, having advised on the controversial storyline.
Barnardo’s chief executive Javed Khan said of the emotive issue: “Sexual abusers are manipulative and controlling. They will exploit a child’s vulnerability and coerce them into sexual behaviour. Abusers gain a child’s trust with affection and gifts but can then use blackmail and threats as a method of control.
“Our specialist UK-wide services support thousands of children who have been sexually exploited by both men and women. The grooming of boys by adult women is a taboo subject but, like all grooming, it causes lasting harm, and problems with trust, affection, love and sex.”
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