Boarding school priest accused of ‘horrific’ sex abuse

A Catholic priest who repeatedly sexually abused a teenage student breached his position of trust in a “spectacular and horrific” way, a court has heard.

Father Michael Higginbottom, 74, is accused of subjecting the teenage boy to repeated sexual abuse when he worked as a teacher at St Joseph’s College in Upholland, Lancashire, in the late 1970s.

Liverpool Crown Court heard the boy, aged between 13 and 14 at the time of the allegations, said he would be struck with a strap if he did not attend Higginbottom’s living quarters, where much of the abuse was alleged to have happened, at appointed times.

The boarding school, which has now closed, was attended by boys aged 11 to 18, many of whom were considering a career in the priesthood.

ITV News

BBC News

Former Ongar boarding school teacher arrested over historic sex offences found dead

A 65-year-old former teacher arrested over historic child sex offences at a former boarding school in Ongar has been found dead before charges could be brought against him.

John Stagg, a former teacher at Elmbridge School in Fyfield, was originally arrested on October 28, 2015, before a file was passed to the Crown Prosecution Service for a decision on charging Stagg with five counts of buggery and eight counts of indecent assault.

While a decision was made to charge Stagg, he was found dead before that could take place.

Stagg, who was also a former music teacher at one of Birmingham’s top grammar schools, had already been jailed for two-and-a-half years for seducing and sexually abusing his teenage pupils at that school in 1998.

He taught at King Edward VI School for Boys in Aston and encouraged his victims to come back to his flat in Erdington where he plied them with drink and drugs and showed pornographic videos.

Another former teacher of Elmbridge School has been charged with 11 counts of indecent assault in relation with claims made by former pupils.

Retired Brian Truan, 80 and of Church Road in Peldon, near Colchester, was charged in connection with an investigation by Essex Police into allegations of non-recent child sexual abuse at the former boarding school.

Essex Live

USA: the dangers of boarding at a “progressive” school

Report: Officials hid decades of sex abuse at boarding school

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – A grand jury report issued Wednesday found that teachers at a Bucks County boarding school sexually preyed on children for half a century while administrators turned a blind eye.

No charges were expected, mostly because the crimes alleged at the culturally progressive Solebury School in New Hope occurred too long ago.

Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub compared preying on children at the $55,000-a-year school to “fishing in a barrel” under previous leaders and said they were willfully blind to the situation. One complaint still could be prosecuted before the legal deadline, but the 27-year-old accuser does not want to press charges, Weintraub said.

The report describes nine teachers or officials who engaged in sexual relationships with students at the school from the 1950s through 2005. School leaders repeatedly failed to report the alleged sexual abuse to police or child welfare officials, the report said.

They also failed to discipline the abusers or enforce boundaries at the 90-acre campus, which was described as having a relaxed environment in which students and teachers called each other by their first names, socialized together and sometimes formed close friendships. Some of the perpetrators are dead, and the statute of limitations has run on the other alleged incidents, but Weintraub hopes the report will “expose how these crimes were allowed to occur and how they were concealed for so long.”

“This was child predation under the guise of progressive education. It’s unconscionable,” the prosecutor said.



Former boarding school head dies in car crash the day before historic sex offences trial

A man who died in a car crash over the weekend has been named as a former head teacher, who was facing rape and sex abuse charges.

Graham Priest, 54, died on Saturday night after crashing into the back of a parked lorry “at considerable speed” on the A249 near Sittingbourne, where he lived.

The ex-boarding school head died just days before he was due to stand trial at Northampton Crown Court for rape and a string of historic sex offences.

Priest was the headteacher of Falcon Manor boarding School, near Towcester, Northamptonshire, before it closed in 1999.

He was charged with raping a woman over 16 in 1988 and three counts of indecent assaults on girls and two on women aged over 16, between 1995 and 1998.

Kent Online

Northamptonshire Telegraph

Kent Live

I faced the teacher who abused me when I was nine

James was repeatedly raped by two paedophile teachers at boarding school. His evidence was key in bringing the men to justice. He and his partner, Emily, talk about how the lasting trauma of the abuse has affected the whole family.

The Guardian

Boarding school teacher ‘systematically groomed and sexually abused’ children

A teacher at a boarding school “systematically groomed and sexually abused” boys, a court has heard.

Gerard Singer, 69, denies abusing nine former pupils at St George’s School, which was first based at Wicklewood, Norfolk, and then Great Finborough in Suffolk, between 1978 and 1981.

One witness said he was given wine, tied face down to a bed and awoke with a “pain in his bottom”.

Prosecutor David Wilson said Mr Singer “abused his position of trust”.

Ipswich Crown Court heard Mr Singer, who lives in northern France, was employed as a language teacher at St George’s, which moved to Suffolk in 1980 when the Wicklewood school became girls only.

BBC News

Bury Free Press

Boy, 15, in rape quiz at top Army boarding school

A teenager at a boarding school for children from military families has been arrested on suspicion of rape.

The 15-year-old, a pupil at The Duke of York’s Royal Military School in Dover, Kent, is alleged to have raped a teenage girl twice between 2014 and 2016.

The school, which caters for children aged 11 to 18, is part-funded by the Ministry of Defence and prides itself on its military traditions.

Daily Mail

The UK is not the only source of boarding school abuse

At least 231 children at a famous boys’ choir school in Germany were victims of physical abuse, according to a lawyer tasked by the Catholic institution with investigating allegations, giving a far higher figure than thought for the scandal, which dates back decades.

The Regensburger Domspatzen, a 1,000-year-old choir in Regensburg, Bavaria, was dragged into the massive sexual abuse scandal plaguing the Catholic church in 2010 when allegations of assaults that took place several decades ago went public.

The Guardian

Donald Sinden’s son on the horror of being abused by his boarding school headmaster.

When Marc Sinden, the actor son of much-loved theatrical knight Donald Sinden, found himself playing the part of a paedophile priest in a new film, Property Of The State, he was flooded with painful and previously half-buried memories.

Called on to act out the rape of a vulnerable youngster, he froze in front of the cameras because of a haunting parallel with his own experience at the hands of the Headmaster of the boarding prep school chosen for him by his proud father.

‘All those emotions that had been building up came out in a huge torrent. […] back in time to the cold, bleak day in 1962 when my parents dropped me at the doors to that wretched school, with my trunk and my tuck box, and drove away.’

‘I remembered the first ghastly night in the dormitory – the sobbing, the whimpering, the howls of pain from all the other boys, who had, like me, never before spent so much as a day away from their homes, without their parents.’

We know this happens just as much today as it did in 1962.  So much for “modern” boarding.  Edgeborough School still exists today and their website shows that they restrict their boarders contact with their parents.

Mail on Sunday