Janitor jailed for 19 years for ‘terrifying’ abuse of boarding school boys

A former boarding school janitor has been jailed for 19 years for committing ‘heinous’ sexual assaults against schoolboys.

Anthony Bennett, now 65, befriended schoolboys as young as 12 at Shebbear College in rural North Devon during the 1970s and 80s and groomed them and then repeatedly assaulted them in his caravan.

The victims, now all middle aged men, gave moving evidence to the jury about being humiliated and terrified by their ordeal at the private boarding school.

Bennett would share cigarettes, coffee and alcohol with the children and encourage them to watch porn with him before subjecting them to frightening abuse, Exeter Crown Court was told.

His actions had severe psychological impact on his victims and left them wondering about the people they might have grown up to be if it wasn’t for Bennett.

Devon Live

Stonar School: Boarding school music teacher is banned after making inappropriate sexual comments

A music teacher who likened himself to Brad Pitt and boasted about his sex life to pupils has been struck off.

Guy Rogers, 44, told pupils he could “take your mum off your dad” and asked female students if they found him attractive, a panel heard.

The guitar tutor, who taught at private boarding school Stonar School in Melksham, Wiltshire also quizzed pupils about their own love lives.

He denied the allegations but was found to have breached professional standards.

BBC News



Scottish boarding schools struggle with reputational and economic problems

The Times reports that Scottish boarding schools face an uncertain future due to higher net worth individuals moving away from the area.

One school has recently tried a failed publicity offensive against its portrayal in the popular TV series The Crown. Prince Charles is reported to have described Gordonstoun as “Colditz in kilts”.

This and other Scottish boarding schools are under investigation by the Scottish Child Abuse inquiry (see our earlier posts).

Australia child abuse inquiry: Final recommendations released

A five-year inquiry into child sexual abuse in Australia has released its final report, making more than 400 recommendations.

The royal commission uncovered harrowing evidence of sexual abuse within institutions, including churches, boarding schools and sports clubs.

Since 2013, it has referred more than 2,500 allegations to authorities.

The final report, released on Friday, added 189 recommendations to 220 that had already been made public.

Tens of thousands of children have been sexually abused in many Australian institutions. We will never know the true number,” the report said.

“It is not a case of a few ‘rotten apples’. Society’s major institutions have seriously failed.”

Religious ministers and school teachers were the most commonly reported perpetrators, the report said.

[Two inquiries in the UK into sexual abuse of children in boarding schools and other institutions are ongoing…]

BBC News

Teaching misconduct: Sexual impropriety dominates lifetime bans. But how many bans in boarding schools?

Three quarters of teachers banned from the profession for life last year were excluded for sexual misconduct – with the remainder committing fraud and exam malpractice, or intentionally misleading job applications.

Schools Week analysis of the 135 hearings carried out by the National College of Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) between September 1, 2016 and August 31, 2017, showed 36 of the 49 teachers kicked out for good had faced allegations of sexually inappropriate behaviour, ranging from watching pornography in class to having sexual relationships with underage pupils.

The others were given lifetime bans for misdemeanours including fraud (three teachers), exam malpractice (two), and intentionally misleading in job applications and other documents (four).

Schools Week

Downside and Ampleforth: IICSA hearings underway

End secrecy of confessionals ‘to protect Catholic children’

Child sexual abuse inquiry is told that not reporting suspected incidents should be a crime

Mandatory reporting of sexual misconduct and abolishing the secrecy of the priest’s confessional box are needed to protect children at Catholic schools, the national inquiry into child sexual abuse has been told.

At the opening of a three-week hearing into Benedictine schools, lawyers representing scores of victims have called for fundamental changes to the way the church handles complaints and deals with suspected offenders.

Richard Scorer, of the law firm Slater and Gordon, who represents 27 core participants at the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), said the failure to make reporting suspected abuse a crime had allowed clerics to evade responsibility.

“A mandatory reporting law would have changed their behaviour,” Scorer told the hearing. “At Downside Abbey, abuse was discovered but not reported and abusers were left to free to abuse again and great harm was done to victims.

The Guardian

Vatican opens probe into sex abuse at boarding school for young boys

The Vatican has opened a new investigation into possible sexual abuse committed before 2013 at a private school in Rome for children destined for the priesthood.

The probe will be centred on “a former student of the pre-seminary Saint Pius X”, who later became a priest, according to a statement from the Holy See.

“Following several reports, anonymous or not, investigations were conducted from 2013 on several occasions, both by the superiors of the pre-seminary and the Bishop of Como (north)”, the diocese where the teachers are attached, the statement said.

The allegations concern pupils, “some of whom were no longer at the institution at the time of the investigations”.

The opening of a new investigation follows the “recent appearance of new elements”.

In a book published a few days ago The Original Sin, Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi discusses the allegations.

The book alleges that in a Vatican palace, a seminarist sexually abused at least one high school student aged 17 or 18 in 2011-2012.

A witness, Kamil Tadeusz Jarzembowksi from Poland, was living in an institution in the Vatican City, where children and adolescents from around the world plan to become priests.

According to him, a former pupil who was allowed to stay in the palace came very often at night – up to 140 times – to have sex with his roommate.

The boarders attend a private school in the centre of Rome and participate as choir boys at Masses celebrated in St. Peter’s Basilica.

South China Morning Post

Corporal punishment in UK schools

Corporal punishment was prohibited in all state-supported education in 1986. The prohibition was extended to cover private schools in England and Wales in 1998, in Scotland in 2000, and in Northern Ireland in 2003. But in 2014 the Government confirmed that legislation does not prohibit corporal punishment in “unregistered independent settings providing part-time education”.

Country Report

Smacking to be banned in Scotland

Smacking children is to be banned in Scotland, the Scottish government has confirmed.

The move would make the country the first part of the UK to outlaw the physical punishment of children.

Ministers had previously said they did not support parents using physical chastisement, but had “no plans” to bring forward legislation of their own.

But the government has now confirmed it will ensure a bill lodged by Green MSP John Finnie will become law.

And it is understood that ministers will work with Mr Finnie to implement the bill in practice.

His proposals, which were out for consultation over the summer, would give children the same legal protection as adults.

At present, parents in Scotland can claim a defence of “justifiable assault” when punishing their child – although the use of an “implement” in any punishment is banned, as is shaking or striking a child on the head.

BBC News

The Guardian

Sussex music teacher banned over sexual relationships with pupils

A music teacher has been banned “indefinitely” from the classroom after striking up “disturbing” relationships with two pupils.

Nathan Waring, 37, “developed an inappropriate relationship” with a 12 year old while working at a boarding prep school in Eastbourne.

Despite warnings, his conduct continued towards a second girl when he took up a job at a boarding school in Norfolk.

A misconduct panel concluded that Mr Waring “showed no remorse“.

The hearing, led by the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL), found Mr Waring struck up a relationship with a girl – known as Pupil A – while working at St Bede’s Prep in Eastbourne, between 2004 and 2007.

He sent text messages of a sexual nature and kissed and touched her inappropriately, the NCTL panel heard.

BBC News

The Mirror