JUNE 1st 2020
An elite private school in Edinburgh is facing further allegations of historic sex abuse as three further victims speak out.
The Daily Record reports how the alleged victims approached our sister title after it told of a teacher who would carry out sexual assaults in class in the 70s.
The paper told last week how a former pupil, now in his 50s, was set to tell Scotland’s historic child abuse inquiry of the “systematic abuse” he was subjected to at the hands of a senior teacher.
Now, three further ex-pupils have also spoken out, claiming the same man would carry out beatings and sexual assaults in full view of the entire class.
It’s claimed the crimes were part of a “regime of fear” at the school in the 70s.
The school, which former Labour prime minister Tony Blair attended, reported the allegations to the police after they were contacted by the record.
One said: “In those days, you were supposed to maintain a stiff upper lip and just carry on.”
The paper said two further victims who contacted the paper felt unable to share their experiences in detail.
The alleged victim who has spoken out told the paper: “One one occasion, in full view of the rest of the class, I got dragged backwards by my hair out of my chair all the way out of the classroom and down the passageway and into the gym changing room.
“There he hit me with a gym shoe or a rugby boot, repeatedly, many times.”
He added: “He then slapped, punched and kicked me.
“He slapped me around the body, buttocks and head.
“I was bruised and hurt – I even lost some hair but I was too embarrassed to seek medical help at the school sanatorium as I felt that I was ‘guilty’ and probably deserved what I had got.
“These people were in authority and beyond reproach or criticism.
“For a while after, I had severe headaches, my head hurt where my hair had been pulled out and I shook.
“I was so frightened I couldn’t speak to anybody about it.
“But the rest of the class were well aware of what was going on.”
The man also gave the paper a detailed account of the alleged sexual assaults he was subjected to.
He said the abuse was carried out in full view of other pupils, and the who class was “well aware” it was taking place.
The man is seeking currently compensation for his ordeal.
Lawyer Laura Connor, of Thompson’s solicitors, said: “What our client describes is a culture of sexual and physical crimes towards children which school authorities did nothing to prevent.”
A May 22 statement from the school after the first allegations said: “Fettes College takes all claims of non-recent child abuse extremely seriously and we would encourage anyone with an allegation to contact both Police Scotland and The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry.
“Fettes College will co-operate fully with all relevant authorities in any case of alleged abuse.
“If someone contacts the school directly, our Safeguarding Team is fully trained to deal with any enquiries, all allegations are passed to Police Scotland for investigation and details are sent to the SCAI.
“Claimants are also given details of how to contact The Survivors Trust.
“Fettes College is dedicated to ensuring all pupils and staff live in a safe environment.
“Safeguarding is central to all that we do and is integral to the ethos of the school.”
MAY 27th 2020
A former pupil at one of Scotland’s top private schools said he was subjected to “horrendous” sexual abuse at the hands of one of its teachers.
The man, now in his 50s, said the assaults took place at Edinburgh’s Fettes College in the 1970s.
His testimony has been submitted in written form to the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry.
Fettes College said his story was “harrowing” and that it took all claims of sexual abuse “extremely seriously”.
The man, who wants to remain anonymous, told his story to BBC Radio Scotland’s Drivetime programme .
‘A raging temper’
He said abuse regularly took place in a classroom full of students while he was attending the preparatory school.
He said his abuser would call boys, who were aged 11 or 12 years old, up to his desk, where he would touch them underneath their shorts.
“This was a regular occurrence. I couldn’t even tell you how many times it happened, but it happened a lot,” he said.
“The master concerned was initially a very likeable man but fairly soon we saw that he had a raging temper. He would pick boys up on the slightest of faults, shake them violently by the hair and bang their heads off the desk.
“I suppose that is how the abuser got away with what he got away with, because you were too frightened to say anything.
“This molestation, this abuse, nobody talked about it.”
He said there were two or three times where the abuse he suffered was “more extreme”.
“I didn’t tell my parents, I didn’t know how to describe what was happening to me, it was all buried away,” he added.
“It was only in my 20s that the gravity of what had happened to me started to sink in.
“I would only talk about it when I had consumed alcohol and then depression started to set in.”
He went to counselling a couple of years ago and cites that as the reason he found the strength to come forward to report the abuse.
He added: “I sincerely hope my abuser is brought to justice.”
Police Scotland have confirmed that, following a referral from the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry, they are investigating multiple claims against his alleged abuser, who is still alive.
A force spokeswoman said inquiries are “at an early stage and ongoing”.
The victim’s lawyers have also been approached by other potential victims.
A Fettes College spokesman said: “This story is extremely harrowing for anyone to hear. Fettes College takes all claims of non-recent child abuse extremely seriously and we would encourage anyone with an allegation to contact both Police Scotland and the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry.
“Fettes College co-operates fully with all relevant authorities in any case of alleged abuse.
“If someone contacts the school directly, our safeguarding team is fully trained to deal with any inquiries, all allegations are passed to Police Scotland for investigation and details are sent to the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry.”
MAY 22nd 2020
An ex-pupil of prestigious Fettes school is set to tell Scotland’s child abuse probe he was systematically sexually abused by a “master teacher”.
It is claimed the abuse took place in full view of other pupils in a classroom and in the showers after rugby training at the private Edinburgh school, which was attended by former prime minister Tony Blair.
The victim claims the assaults took place multiple times during his time at the school in the 70s.
The victim, in his 50s, says he has come forward to speak to the Daily Record to encourage others to do the same.
Harrowing testimony telling how the teacher ruled his pupils through sexual assault, fear and intimidation is set to be placed before the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry.
The victim said: “He sexually abused me on several occasions. I was abused in my classroom and separately in the changing rooms – once in the changing rooms and multiple times in the classroom.
“My classroom was right next door to the headmaster’s office. The teacher would sexually abuse me and others in full view of classmates.
“He created an atmosphere of ‘this is normal but do one thing wrong and you’ll be punished’.”
The testimony states boys would be called to the teacher’s desk with school jotters.
Once at the desk, the teacher would roughly place his hand inside the pupils’ shorts.
The victim said: “He often had violent outbursts – his face would turn purple, his eyes popping out. He would grab you by the hair and shake you violently.
“He did that to me two or three times – I remember crying at my desk on at least one occasion afterwards.
“He was terrifying. He’d scream and shout right in your face and then shake you by the hair – and I mean really shake you.
“Looking back, I’m surprised he didn’t break someone’s neck.”
The victim was aged between 10 and 11 when the abuse was happening.
He was known as a “day boy” because he was not a boarder at the school.
The allegations – the shower abuse and one occasion at the teacher’s desk – would now be classed as a “serious sexual offence”.
The victim went on: “There is one schoolboy that sticks in my mind, he was a boarder.
“I remember him being literally attacked in assembly by the master teacher. The other masters were shocked and two intervened.
“They pulled him off the boy and dragged him into the corridor outside. I remember them yelling at the master teacher.
“I think one of the teachers who intervened left the school after that.
“The boy in question actually had a bald patch as a result of all the hair pulling and shaking from the master teacher.”
He said of another victim: “One boy was being molested in front of the class. He leapt back from the teacher in shock.
“I don’t know what he had done. I remember the master teacher saying, ‘What? Don’t you like it?’ and the pupil telling him that he didn’t.
“The master teacher did that – he made you have ‘the problem’, not him. He created a sense of ‘this is normal’.
“He would regularly stand in the shower area watching us shower after sports practice.
“On one occasion I was last to shower and I remember being concerned I’d be on my own with him if I didn’t hurry up.
“I did end up on my own and he sexually abused me.”
The victim has told how the abuse took its toll.
He went on to another Edinburgh secondary school rather than go up to Fettes College, which was in the same grounds as the junior school.
He said: “I did well in my first year but badly in my second year – my grades suffered.
“I trusted adults. I was a happy boy when I started at Fettes but when I look back I can see many occasions when I was plagued with anxiety.
“Depression set in during my early 20s. I realised what had actually happened to me.
“I started drinking heavily and that’s when it would come out that I had been a victim too.
“I never discussed this with my parents when I was at school. I didn’t know how to.
“Many times throughout my life I’d be full of rage and wanted to find the master teacher and ‘sort him out’.
The victim’s statement is set to go before the abuse inquiry.
He has sought advice from Glasgow-based Thompson’s Solicitors, on winning compensation for the sustained abuse suffered while at Fettes.
He added he’d encourage any former pupils who experienced similar attacks at Fettes Junior School or Fettes College to come forward.”
Laura Connor, of Thompson’s, said: “What our client describes is a culture of sexual and physical crimes towards children which school authorities did nothing to prevent.”
A spokesperson for Fettes College said: “Fettes College takes all claims of non-recent child abuse extremely seriously and we would encourage anyone with an allegation to contact both Police Scotland and The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry.
“Fettes College will co-operate fully with all relevant authorities in any case of alleged abuse.
“If someone contacts the school directly, our Safeguarding Team is fully trained to deal with any enquiries, all allegations are passed to Police Scotland for investigation and details are sent to the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry.
“Claimants are also given details of how to contact The Survivors Trust for help and advice.
“Fettes College is dedicated to ensuring that all pupils and staff live together in a safe environment.
“Safeguarding is central to all that we do and is integral to the ethos of the school.
“It is the duty of all members of staff, throughout the Fettes community, to play an active role in promoting the wellbeing of all our pupils.”