Following an enquiry into allegations of historic child sexual abuse at St Paul’s Private School in Barnes, South-West London, 5 former members of staff have been convicted over the offences committed.
St Paul’s is one of the most high-profile independent schools in the country and has been attended by the likes of the former chancellor George Osborne, the fertility expert Robert Winston, the foreign correspondent John Simpson and the historian Dan Snow.
The private school, saw more than 80 individual complaints emerge against 32 members of staff, covering a period of 6 decades, in the period 2013 and 2015.
The allegations of sexual abuse lead to an independent review, which was set up in 2017 to look into an increasing number of abuse allegations at St Paul’s school.
The review was also launched following a Metropolitan police investigation and several prosecutions ending with the conviction of Patrick Marshall, a former rowing coach.
Marshall was jailed for 18 years for 24 counts of indecent assault on 10 former pupils at St Paul’s and another school during the 1970s and 80s.
The findings of the review, published by The Richmond Safeguarding Children Board on Monday 13th January 2020, revealed for the first time the full scale of the allegations.
In total, 59 former pupils or their families were interviewed as part of the inquiry and a number of new claims have been passed on to the police for investigation.
The majority of complaints date from the 1960s to the 1990s and some of the staff implicated were still working at the school up until 2017.
The review found the use of alcohol, leisure time spent with pupils and staff being invited by parents to their homes, all created the opportunity for grooming.
The Review states that at times sexual abuse appears to have been “known and tolerated by staff” at the school.
Ex-pupils told the inquiry there was a protective culture among the staff and a fear that if you spoke out it would be held against you.
The Review details some of the consequences of the abuse, in particular, one pupil who was emotionally abused and humiliated between 2003 and 2005 experienced mental ill-health as an adult and killed himself whilst at university.
The review found safeguarding had improved considerably in recent years, as the failure of past regimes to identify and act on suspected abuse became clear.
The review also stated that “St Paul’s is unlikely to be different from many other institutions of its time. We should not judge the response of the school in the past by today’s standards”.
Complaints against nine further staff were unproven or are still the subject to continuing investigation.
If you have been a victim of child abuse and would like to speak to one of our specialist abuse lawyers in confidence, please do not hesitate to contact us. We can advise you on the available options for pursuing a civil damages claim. Jordans successfully represent and secure compensation for numerous victims of abuse and are experts in overcoming the particular challenges that arise in these sensitive cases. Our abuse team can be contacted on 0800 9555 094 or 0330 300 1103.