Public Schools & Prep Schools

The Times, 20th May 2013


By Andrew Norfolk 

A paedophile teacher kept his job at a top public school for 16 years after pupils found his collection of indecent videos. Keith Perry taught for 38 years at St Paul’s School, in west London, where a police inquiry began last month into sex crimes allegedly committed against boys by 18 teachers since the 1960s.
Perry was convicted this year after police raided his home last summer and found almost 600 films and photographs showing the abuse of children. In online chat rooms, the “inspirational” former head of history spoke of being sexually obsessed with boys as young as eight.
Perry, 71, who retired in 2003, escaped a jail sentence after it was claimed in court that his addiction to the “utterly repellent” images was a recent lapse by a man of “exemplary character”.
It can be revealed today, however, that Perry’s viewing tastes were discovered in 1986, when boys in a St Paul’s boarding house found a collection of videos hidden behind a row of books in his study, where he often entertained pupils. It was always kept unlocked.
A former pupil told The Times that in Perry’s absence he and a small group of boarders watched an excerpt from one of the films. He said it showed a weeping boy, aged about 13, sitting naked on a chair. The child was instructed to perform a sex act.
Inquiries by The Times confirm the boy’s recollection of having been so disturbed by the video that he reported it to a teacher, who told the school’s senior management of the alleged discovery of “homosexual pornographic videos” in the assistant housemaster’s study.
The teacher said the pupil did not give him a detailed description of the video’s content and the school remained unaware of the allegation that some footage included the abuse of children. No investigation was conducted and no formal disciplinary action was taken against Perry.
It is understood that discussions led to Perry being “quietly advised” to move out of the boarding house, which housed 60 pupils aged from 13 to 18. He taught at St Paul’s for a further 16 years.
Operation Winthorpe, a criminal inquiry led by specialist detectives from the Metropolitan police’s paedophile unit, began work last month after former pupils of St Paul’s and its preparatory school, Colet Court, contacted The Times to allege past sexual abuse by a host of teachers.
Crimes under investigation are said to have taken place between the mid-1960s and last year. It is alleged that on several occasions the school failed to report sexual misconduct by staff. Teachers who were asked to leave found jobs at other boys’ schools.
A former St Paul’s teacher told The Times that the school’s child protection failings in past decades reflected “the rather depressing culture of the day” in many British independent schools. Another said: “In those days, protecting the institution from scandal was all-important.”
Perry admitted last week that he kept pornographic films in his study but denied that any featured children. He also denied being asked to leave the boarding house.
St Paul’s said that it was “co-operating fully with the police investigation”.
The possession of indecent images of children did not become a criminal offence in England and Wales until 1988. The police hotline for Operation Winthorpe is 020-7161 0500.

The Independent, 1st April 1996

A chaplain and a junior master have been sacked by an £11,000- a-year school after admitting possession of child porn pictures. The Rev Brian Boucher and Trevor Jones lost their jobs at Hurstpierpoint College, near Brighton, six weeks after being arrested after a search of their accommodation. No pupils at the college were involved. Both were later given a caution.

The Independent, 3rd August 1997

A Body believed to be that of Adrian Stark, the public school teacher charged last week with possessing child pornography, was found in the sea yesterday near one of Britain’s most notorious suicide spots.

Mr Stark, 33, had not been seen since Wednesday when he was charged by police and released on bail pending further inquiries. A police spokesman said: “We have found Mr Starks’s car and we are trying to identify the body of a man found in the sea by coastguards.”

The state of the body was consistent with a fall from the Beachy Head cliffs, he said.

David Corke, the coxswain of the Eastbourne lifeboat who helped to recover the body, said: “We believe it may have been in the water for a couple of days.”

The grim discovery followed a public appeal from Surrey police, who are carrying out the investigation into the pornography allegations, about the whereabouts of Mr Stark. Police had said they were concerned for his welfare.

His Volvo was eventually found abandoned at Beachy Head at 4am yesterday. Yesterday afternoon the body was seen by a motorcruiser two miles out to sea east of Eastbourne.

Mr Stark, who was single, had been arrested after officers found pornographic material at a property in the Surrey school grounds, and was charged with three counts of possessing indecent photographs of children.

He joined the school in 1995 from Hurstpierpoint School in West Sussex. Hurstpierpoint hit the headlines last year when the school chaplain, the Reverend Brian Boucher, and a junior science teacher, Trevor Jones, were sacked after being cautioned by police for possessing child pornography.

Officers from Burgess Hill seized items from the men’s living quarters at the Sussex school after reportedly acting on a tip-off from police investigating a paedophile ring in Eastern Europe.

Hurstpierpoint School and police emphasised that none of the pornographic material was connected with children at the co-educational school.

Yesterday a spokesman for Sussex Police said colleagues in Surrey had not asked for information about its inquiry into Hurstpierpoint College in 1995.

The spokesman said: “As far as I am aware, there was no suggestion at the time that any other persons were involved in that investigation.”

Governors of £8,000-a-year St John’s, who suspended Mr Stark from his post on the day of his arrest, met yesterday morning. “We will be writing to all parents to update them of the situation,” said the bursar, Christopher Pelley. “The police are keeping us in the picture as to their search. But Mr Stark has not been seen at the school since he was arrested and he has not been at his bail address.”

St John’s School was founded in 1851 in north London to educate sons of the clergy, and moved to Leatherhead in 1872. St John’s has 395 boys, including 100 boarders, and 45 girls in its sixth form. Fees last year were £3,700 a term for boarders and £2,550 for day pupils.

The Times, 4th August 1997

A BODY pulled from the sea near Beachy Head was identified yesterday as Adrian Stark, the public school teacher charged with possessing indecent photographs of children.
Mr Stark, 33, was arrested on Thursday after police seized a large collection of material from his flat at St John’s School in Leatherhead, Surrey. He disappeared after he had been charged with three counts of having indecent photographs and released on bail.
On Saturday his Volvo was found at Beachy Head, East Sussex. A few hours later the crew of a motor cruiser spotted the partly clad body of a man three miles off the coast.
Dover coastguards said the condition of the body suggested a fall from the 550ft cliffs. Fingerprints were used to make a positive identification.
A Surrey Police spokesman said the material seized at Mr Stark’s home was still being studied. As yet, no one else was being investigated. An inquest will be held.
Commander Christopher Pelley, bursar of St John’s, said the school governors had learnt yesterday morning that the body had been formally identified.
He said Mr Stark, the director of music, had been at the school for two years and “in that time had proved to be a gifted musician and a talented teacher who was liked and respected by everyone in the St John’s community”.
Commander Pelley added: “We are desperately sorry to hear of his death and he will be sadly missed by everyone at the school. Our thoughts and prayers at this time are with his family and friends.”
He said that a letter would be sent to the parents of all pupils during the coming week giving details of what had happened. He hoped that the letter would go some way to setting parents’ minds at ease.
St John’s School was founded in north London in 1851 to educate the sons of clergy. It moved to Leather-head in 1872. Many former pupils have trained for the ministry.
Viscount Montgomery of Alamein was chairman of the governors between 1951 and 1966. A house at the school is named after him. There are 395 boy pupils, including 100 boarders, and 45 girls in the sixth form. The fees last year were £3,700 per term for boarders and £2,550 for day pupils.
Mr Stark came to the school in 1995 from Hurstpierpoint College, West Sussex. Last year the chaplain at Hurstpierpoint and a science teacher were cautioned by police for possession of indecent material. The Rev Brian Boucher, 57, and Trevor Jones, 44, left their jobs afterwards. None of the pornography was connect-ed with pupils at the school.
Later reports suggested that address books seized during raids at schools had led to a police investigation into the possibility of a paedophile network involving public school teachers across Britain.

The Times, 9th April 2014

by Andrew Norfolk

Anthony Fuggle, 57, has been questioned and released on bail

Anthony Fuggle, 57, has been questioned and released on bail

Police have begun a criminal inquiry into decades of alleged sexual abuse at a top boys’ public school, as it emerged that a current teacher was arrested just six months ago for possessing indecent images of children.

The inquiry into St Paul’s School in London, and its prep school, Colet Court, come after revelations in The Times last month that prompted former pupils to contact police.

So many complaints have been made during the past fortnight that officers are investigating more than six “persons of interest” who taught at the school, whose alumni include George Osborne, the Chancellor.

The officer leading the inquiry said that it had spiralled rapidly into “a complex investigation with further victims, witnesses and suspects being identified on an almost daily basis”.

Detective Inspector Jon Rhodes also appealed for more witnesses to “come forward if they have information”.

The Metropolitan Police said in a statement: “We can confirm that the child abuse investigation team is investigating historic allegations of sexual abuse alleged to have taken place between the 1960s and 1980s. We are aware of a number of potential victims and witnesses we wish to speak to over the course of the investigation.”

It can be revealed that Colet Court’s director of administration, a classics teacher at the preparatory school for more than 20 years, resigned during the current academic year after his arrest on suspicion of possessing child abuse images.

Anthony Fuggle, 57, has been questioned and released on bail. Police were alerted in September after photographs of boys and “inappropriate written material” were found on a school computer during routine IT checks.

A file on the case is with the Crown Prosecution Service. Mr Fuggle was unavailable for comment.

A meeting was held on Friday between police and the school’s current leadership team, at which St Paul’s pledged its full co-operation to the inquiry and its belief that any former employee guilty of child-sex offences should face justice. Letters and e-mails were sent last week to parents of boys at St Paul’s and Colet Court and also to former pupils who are members of the Old Pauline Club.

Two weeks ago, this newspaper revealed that six former teachers at St Paul’s and its prep school, which share a campus in Barnes, southwest London, were suspected of sexually assaulting boys from the mid 1960s to the late 1980s.

Students in that era included Mr Osborne, who was at Colet Court and St Paul’s in the 1980s, and Dominic Grieve, QC, the Attorney-General, a pupil at the prep school in the 1960s. There is no suggestion that either was abused as a schoolboy.

Former pupils subsequently contacted this newspaper to accuse more ex-members of staff of sexual misconduct. In total, abuse allegations have been made to The Times against 13 schoolmasters, five of whom taught at St Paul’s and eight at Colet Court. Six of the men are known or thought to be dead.

Offences are said to have been committed against pupils aged 9 to 17, ranging from indecent assaults, voyeurism and sexually motivated beatings to boys being groomed by a teacher who later paid them for penetrative sex.

In two of the 13 cases, at least five ex-pupils have separately made allegations against the same teacher. Former pupils initially came forward in January after St Paul’s was not named in a news article listing 130 British independent schools linked to the abuse of hundreds of boys.

A month later, police began a criminal inquiry into a complaint made by an ex-pupil against a former teacher, Patrick Marshall, alleging sexual offences in the late 1970s.

Mr Marshall, 65, who taught geography and coached rowing at St Paul’s, was arrested and released on bail pending further inquiries. He denies wrongdoing.

Liz Dux, a lawyer specialising in abuse cases, said that no independent school of St Paul’s status and academic reputation had faced such wide- ranging allegations.

Her firm, Slater & Gordon, whose clients include more than 140 alleged victims of Jimmy Savile, represents an ex-pupil who claims to have been sexually abused at St Paul’s in the 1970s.

Ms Dux said that it was “already clear that some of these complaints were known about by other members of staff at the time”. She voiced concern about the adequacy of the school’s response when allegations were brought to its attention during the years that are under police investigation.

The school said yesterday that it was working with the police to ensure that any former teachers who failed in their “heavy duty of responsibility for the wellbeing of pupils” were held accountable, whether for offences “50 years ago or more recently”.

A spokesman said: “We have direct access to the investigative team, and all allegations of historic abuse which are brought to our attention are forwarded immediately to them.”