Paedophile ring alleged at top public schools (19.09.96)

Evening Standard, 19th September 1996

by Eileen Fairweather

DETECTIVES from Scotland Yard’s paedophile and child pornography unit have raided six masters at leading public schools, including Harrow.

 A number of videos, computer discs and books were taken from one teacher at the £13,000-a-year school.

 His innocence was last night vigorously defended by the headmaster of Harrow School where he remains in his post. His solicitor confirmed the teacher had been questioned by Harrow police and Scotland Yard but not arrested.

 The lawyer said all the material had been returned by police except a book of art photos, which is still being studied. “My client has stressed he is not a paedophile. I think he may be unfortunate in his friends.”

 He confirmed that the teacher came to police attention as a result of a Scotland Yard investigation into an alleged paedophile network involving public school teachers throughout Britain.

 His name figured in address books seized by police during earlier raids on staff at other top schools.

 His solicitor said: “A couple of them are – or perhaps ‘were’ might be a better word – friends. One of them has disappeared, possibly abroad.” The lawyer could not name the men but it is believed they were teachers at Hurstpierpoint College in Sussex. Two were raided at their homes at the college.

 Hurstpierpoint’s bursar, Martin Sherwin, last night confirmed the teachers were dismissed after police cautions for the possession of indecent material. “No pupils were involved in the material.”

 The teacher at Harrow as visited later as part of a secret Scotland Yard investigation which began 18 months ago, when a former teacher at Abberley Hall preparatory school – angry after being made redundant – alleged a colleague still in his post had admitted he was involved in a paedophile ring spanning top schools.

 The ring allegedly swopped child pornography and organised tours to Third World countries where they could safely indulge in sex with “rent boys”.

 Abberley Hall’s headmaster John Walker confirmed that the school dismissed the teacher and passed on the information to police. But, he said: “Nothing came of it and there was never any suggestion that any pictures he might have looked at had anything to do with the school.”

 Harrow’s headmaster Nicholas Bomford said no Harrow pupils were questioned either. “The police brought no charges, having inspected what they took from the teacher’s house,” he said.

 “I’m perfectly satisfied that a full investigation took place and that nothing of an incrimination or a dangerous kind was found. The last thing I’d want is his name blackened.”

 Mr Cartledge’s solicitor admitted however that police have not yet returned to Mr Cartledge a book of photographs showing young men from about age 16 upwards in “Greek and Roman poses”.

 The photographs are by German turn of the century photographer Baron Wilhelm Von Gloeden.

 Investigations into other former and current public school masters continue.

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