The former headteacher of Caldicott Boys’ Preparatory School has been convicted of historic child abuse resulting in Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, a former pupil of the school, speaking of his shock.
Roland Peter Wright, 83, from Farnham Royal, Buckinghamshire, assaulted five pupils aged eight to 13 between 1959 and 1970. Wright was found guilty of 12 counts of sexual assault by a jury at Amersham Crown Court earlier this month and will be sentenced on February 6th 2014. He had previously been found not guilty of three offences at an earlier trial.
Mr Clegg, who was joint head boy at the school in 1980, told The Times: “These reports will disturb everyone, but most especially those, like myself, who were pupils at the school and were entirely unaware that such abuse was taking place. I can only imagine the devastating impact that such abuse must have had on the young boys who were affected. My heart goes out to them.”
Wright’s conviction comes after fellow former teachers John Addrison and Hugh Henry pleaded guilty to sex abuse. Addrison, 54, from Slough in Berkshire, pleaded guilty to offences of indecent assault and indecency with a child and was sentenced to five years imprisonment at Aylesbury Crown Court in November 2012. He will also remain on the sex offenders register for life. Henry, 82, from Amersham, pleaded guilty to offences of indecent assault and gross indecency. He will be sentenced with Wright.
Ruth Bowskill, of Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service, said Wright had both “breached the trust” of pupils, parents and staff and of his position of authority, but had never apologised for his conduct. She added: “It is only due to the great courage and persistence of the victims and those affected by the abuse that the despicable behaviour of these teachers at the school has been exposed.”
A former pupil at Caldicott, now in his 60’s, who was abused by Wright, waived his anonymity to appear in Chosen, a Bafta award-winning documentary about sexual abuse in Britain’s private schools.
Last month the former Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Keir Starmer, claimed that professionals who do not report suspicions of child abuse should be prosecuted. Under current law, it is not mandatory to report such suspicions, although social workers, teachers, doctors and other professionals who regularly come into contact with children are encouraged to do so. By contrast, a number of other countries, including Australia, Canada and the US, have already made reporting suspected child abuse a legal requirement.
At Jordans we support the campaign to make the reporting of suspected child abuse mandatory. In the past there have been attempts to cover up accusations and this campaign aims to stop that from happening in the future.