Man tells how he was ‘pun­ished’ at open day

Rochdale Observer - - CHILD SEX ABUSE INQUIRY - Da­mon.wilkin­son@men-news.co.uk @Da­monWilkin­son6

AFORMER Knowl View pupil has told how a pae­dophile teacher helped Cyril Smith abuse him at the school’s of­fi­cial open­ing day.

Giv­ing ev­i­dence to the In­de­pen­dent In­quiry into Child Sex­ual Abuse the man said dur­ing the open­ing cer­e­mony in 1969 he was put on ‘car park duty’ but was ‘pun­ished’ for ask­ing Smith, then a gover­nor at the school, to park with other guests.

Fol­low­ing the func­tion the man said teacher David Higgins - the only per­son con­victed of abus­ing boys at the Rochdale school - told him to go to his flat.

When he ar­rived Smith was there.

In a state­ment read out to the in­quiry the man, who can­not be named for le­gal rea­sons, said: “I was told that as I got Cyril Smith to park his car in the wrong place, I had to be pun­ished.

“This could be done by the head­mas­ter or it could be done by Cyril Smith. “I started to protest. “I was then pushed for­ward over the back of a chair or sofa in the flat. This was done by Higgins.

“He was stand­ing to one side.

“He used one hand to push my head down and the other hand to pull my trousers down.

“I could feel that Cyril Smith was be­hind me.

“I could hear that Cyril Smith was un­do­ing his clothes.

“I felt an­other hand reach around and grab my gen­i­tals.

“It could only have been Cyril Smith as Higgins was us­ing one hand to hold my head down and was pulling my trousers down with the other.

“I re­alised what was hap­pen­ing.

“I strug­gled, and some­how I man­aged to break loose and I left.

“As I left, they were laugh­ing.”

The man claimed he later told head teacher John Turner about the in­ci­dent but he “called me a liar” and “told me that I wouldn’t be be­lieved”.

Mr Turner was “some­body I trusted” but “I saw a dif­fer­ent side to him” af­ter the com­plaint, the man claimed.

He al­leged he “gave me a slap across the head” which was “so hard that I had a headache”.

He told me that I had to “con­sider the rep­u­ta­tion of the school”, the al­leged vic­tim said.

The man said he was sex­u­ally as­saulted by Higgins on other oc­ca­sions and he also saw the teacher abus­ing other pupils.

He told the in­quiry that: “Higgins acted like he had a God-given right to treat any kid as he liked.

“Any child was a tar­get and he made it bla­tantly ob­vi­ous that he was sex­u­ally at­tracted to the boys in his care.

“This was ob­vi­ous to the pupils and must have been ob­vi­ous to the other mem­bers of staff.”

Higgins was jailed in 2002 af­ter ad­mit­ting in­de­cently as­sault­ing boys at Knowl View and also gross in­de­cency.

He is cur­rently serv­ing a 14 year sen­tence for se­ri­ous sex­ual of­fences af­ter he was also con­victed of mul­ti­ple rape and sex of­fences on a young boy while he was a teacher at a school in Leeds, at Leeds Crown Court in 2014.

●●A for­mer Knowl View pupil claims he was abused at the school’s open­ing day

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