Warn­ing on ‘sex abuse teacher’ was ig­nored

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY SI­MON ROCKER

THE FOR­MER head­mas­ter of Carmel Col­lege has said he was “ap­palled” that a teacher he fired for in­ap­pro­pri­ate be­hav­iour found a job at another school, de­spite the Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion be­ing warned about him.

Philip Skelker, head of the Jewish board­ing school in Ox­ford­shire un­til its clo­sure in 1997, told Ox­ford Crown Court that he had sacked Trevor Bolton af­ter be­ing shown a let­ter the teacher had writ­ten to a pupil.

Mr Bolton, 78, who was a master of a ju­nior boys’ board­ing house and a French tu­tor, de­nies 25 charges of in­de­cency and sex­ual as­sault in­volv­ing eight boys over two decades.

Mr Skelker said that dur­ing the sum­mer hol­i­days in 1988 he had re­ceived a let­ter from the par­ents of a boy who had been at the school.

It con­tained a let­ter writ­ten some time be­fore by Mr Bolton to their son that spec­u­lated what the boys’ par­ents might think if they saw the teacher dressed in shorts.

It also re­ferred to a pas­sage by the Amer­i­can writer Henry Thoreau about march­ing to the beat of “a dif­fer­ent drum­mer”.

Mr Skelker told the jury that he had been “trou­bled” by the let­ter and dis­cussed it with the chair­man of gover­nors.

“We de­cided… the em­ploy­ment of Mr Bolton should be ter­mi­nated,” he said

He also sent a copy of the let­ter to the then Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion and Science, sug­gest­ing that Mr Bolton be put on “List 99” — a blacklist of peo­ple un­suit­able for teach­ing in schools.

B u t t h e d e p a r t me n t had not felt it ap­pro­pri­ate to place the teacher on the list, and Mr Skelker said that he was ap­palled to learn that Mr Bolton had found a job at another school.

Mr Skelker’s pre­de­ces­sor, Rabbi Jeremy Rosen, speak­ing by video link from New York, said that he had been “shocked” some 10 years ago to be told by a for­mer pupil that he had been sex­u­ally abused by Mr Bolton while at Carmel.

When Rabbi Rosen asked the for­mer pupil why he had not re­ported the abuse to him at the time, “he replied that he was too fright­ened to”.

Another for­mer pupil gave the court a graphic ac­count of some of the 40 sex­ual as­saults he says he suf­fered be­tween the ages of 11 and 15 at Carmel. One took place in a locked cu­bi­cle in the school’s mu­sic room, he said.

He said that Mr Bolton had be­come aware that he was “very un­happy” be­cause of bul­ly­ing by other pupils and sought to com­fort him. “He was try­ing to take me un­der his wing… Very quickly I came to re­alise he had an ul­te­rior mo­tive.”

When the abuse be­gan, he said, at first “I didn’t fully un­der­stand what it was that was go­ing on”.

Some­times the teacher had left him sex­u­ally ex­plicit notes penned in turquoise ink in his desk, he said.

De­fend­ing Mr Bolton — who is not Jewish — bar­ris­ter Barry Gil­bert sug­gested that the wit­ness had made up the abuse sto­ries “to get your own back on the school be­cause of the aw­ful time you had be­cause you were bul­lied”.

But the for­mer pupil re­sponded: “I stick to my guns, I stick to my story be­cause this is ex­actly what hap­pened.”

Carmel Col­lege head sug­gested teacher should be black­listed

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