Abuse of trust

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2004

Back on March 5th, in a post titled 'H-h-h-holy Joe!', I wrote about how my old deputy headteacher had been hauled up before the court for abusing young boys.

To save you searching back for the post, here's a snippet:

Holy Joe always made us uneasy. He had a way of standing too close to you sometimes, a way of looking at you too hard. One of his favoured punishments – apart from lifting a boy up by his ears – was what he called 'booking your seat'. He'd have you on your hands and knees on his desk, in front of the rest of the class, and hammer you smartly on the behind with a large and dusty textbook. He found this highly comical, but I think we all sensed he also found it exciting. Something to do with the way his eyes gleamed. Being sent to his office was something no-one liked, and was the occasion of much nudge-nudging and oh-hoing from your friends beforehand.

Since then, Mum's been passing on occasional updates as he works his way through the court system. I spoke to her today, and she tells me a trial date's been set for January. I think this one will probably make the national press, having heard a bit more of what he's charged with.

He faces 17 charges of indecently assaulting boys. The dates have been extended to stretch as far as 1985, so the whole period while he was my Lower School Head (and religious education teacher) is now included. Most of the offences are alleged to have taken place at the school – no wonder we were so unwilling to visit him in his office. One offence is alleged to have taken place at his house, one in his church (he was a Reverend as well as a teacher) and one in Llandudno, Wales. The school trips he led to north Wales were to Conway but I'm sure I remember we visited Llandudno on the one I took part in.

One teacher from my time at the school has already been jailed – a likeable craft teacher who was done for some sort of financial fiddle involving a house. Can't remember the details, but frankly I remember it seeming like pretty small beer at the time. I liked him (although it wasn't mutual), partly because he organised a very enjoyable skiing trip that I went on.

Now a second teacher faces becoming a guest of Her Majesty. A rather more serious type of fiddling this time, I feel…

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I'm Andy Darley. Sometimes I want to say things. This is where I do it.