Warning on ‘sex abuse teacher’ was ignored
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