The Times, 25th March 2014
by Andrew Norfolk
At least six teachers at one of Britain’s most famous and successful public schools are suspected of sexually abusing boys as young as 10 over two decades.
The schoolmasters, all of whom taught at St Paul’s School or its junior division, Colet Court, are implicated in numerous alleged sexual assaults against pupils between the 1960s and the 1980s, an investigation by The Times has established.
One, a close friend of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, became a member of the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE), the pro-paedophilia pressure group that has been linked to senior Labour Party figures.
Alan Doggett, director of music at Colet Court, was allowed to resign after suspected serial abuse of a young pupil was exposed. He went on to teach at another leading institution, the City of London School, and became director of an acclaimed boys’ choir. He later committed suicide after being charged with indecently assaulting another boy.
An ex-pupil yesterday accused St Paul’s of exposing hundreds of boys to the risk of abuse by “hushing up” the offending that led to the teacher’s departure.
Dominic Grieve, QC, the Attorney General, was a Colet Court pupil when Doggett was asked to leave.
George Osborne, the Chancellor, also attended the prep school, which shares a 45-acre campus with St Paul’s in Barnes, southwest London. He attended the senior school in the 1980s. There is no suggestion that either was abused as a schoolboy.
On at least two more occasions in the 1960s and 1970s, St Paul’s is understood to have failed to contact police when concerns about masters’ inappropriate sexual conduct towards boys were raised by parents or members of staff. Former teachers at St Paul’s have been the subject of at least four child abuse investigations since the late 1970s. None was initiated by the school.
The most recent criminal case began last month into sexual offences allegedly committed by Patrick Marshall, 65, who taught geography and coached rowing at St Paul’s. He was arrested four weeks ago over the suspected abuse of a boy, aged 15, in the late 1970s. Police hope to speak to more ex-pupils as the inquiry continues.
Mr Marshall, who denies wrongdoing, has been released on bail. Police have previously investigated an unnamed St Paul’s teacher alleged to have abused a pupil in the 1980s. The suspect was arrested in 2000 and a file sent to the Crown Prosecution Service, which ruled there was insufficient evidence to bring charges.
Another inquiry was held in 2000 into a Colet Court teacher, Paul Topham, said to have committed offences against a boy in the late 1960s. He also was not prosecuted, and died in 2012 aged 80.
A former housemaster at the prep school, known as “Alex” Alexander, is today accused by a former pupil of serial indecent assaults during the same decade.
A sixth, unidentified teacher agreed to leave St Paul’s after a school cleaner found sado-masochistic pornography in his room, alongside a personal register of pupils subjected to private spanking sessions. Parents were told that he left for “family reasons”.
A seventh teacher, 70-year-old Keith Perry, St Paul’s “inspirational” former head of history, received a two-year suspended prison sentence last month after collecting hundreds of extreme images of naked boys.
The school at which he taught for 38 years was not named at Southwark Crown Court, where he admitted 17 offences of making and distributing child abuse images “over a substantial period of time”. In internet chat rooms, he wrote of being “obsessed” with boys as young as 8. It is not suggested that any of Perry’s crimes involved pupils at St Paul’s.
In a statement, St Paul’s stressed that none of the alleged abuse concerned staff or pupils currently at the school. It added that three of the alleged offenders were dead but called for living suspects to be “investigated and subjected to the proper processes of justice”.
“Any sexual abuse of children by an adult, and particularly by a teacher, is abhorrent, a serious violation of trust and an affront to the value of any caring community. The school deals quickly, sensitively and resolutely with any concerns or allegations of abuse. This commitment applies equally to allegations of historic abuse. Pupil welfare and safeguarding are our highest priority.”
Professor Mark Bailey, the school’s High Master, said he was “grateful to The Times for bringing these allegations to our attention”. He promised that St paul’s would co-operate fully with any investigation.
See also Ian Pace’s article on Alan Doggett