Judge blasts prestigious £21,000-a-year boarding school for giving a reference to paedophile housemaster to work abroad even though allegations against him had already been made
- Paul Stevens left £21,000-a-year Abberley Hall School in Worcestershire in 1999
- Suspicions had been raised regarding the 62-year-old’s behaviour towards boys
- Stevens was in 2019 jailed for 19 years for subjecting three boys to horrific abuse
- It has now emerged he abused more boys after being given a glowing reference
- He travelled to Kenya and committed two offences of voyeurism in Africa in 2012
Paul Stevens (pictured), 62, left the £21,000-a-year Abberley Hall School in Worcestershire in 1999 after suspicions were raised against his behaviour towards pupils
A judge has blasted a prestigious boarding school after a paedophile housemaster was given a reference to find work abroad where he carried on abusing children.
Paul Stevens, 62, left the £21,000-a-year Abberley Hall School in Worcestershire in 1999 after suspicions were raised against his behaviour towards pupils.
He was last year jailed for 19 years for subjecting three boys to horrific abuse at the institution – which taught a string of Tory MPs.
But it has now emerged Stevens abused more youngsters after being handed a glowing reference by the school to find another job in Kenya.
Numerous allegations had already been made against the pervert at the time the boarding school helped him find work abroad.
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Stevens was allowed to go on to commit two offences of voyeurism during his time working in Africa in 2012.
He has been jailed for a further three-and-a-half years to run concurrently with his existing sentence after he pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court.
Judge Andrew Lockhart QC expressed concerns Stevens was given a reference by the school and said the ‘whole file needed reviewing’ by authorities.
He was last year jailed for 19 years for subjecting three boys to horrific abuse at the institution (pictured) – which taught a string of Tory MPs
He said: ‘He was given a reference to go to Kenya. I have said the whole file needs to be reviewed by the authorities in Worcester.
‘It needs to be ensured that such things never happen again.’
The court was told how Stevens would follow [a] boy into the showers at the school in Kenya and would watch him undress.
He has also admitted indecently assaulting another eight-year-old boy at Abberley Hall during the 1990s.
Sentencing, the judge added: ‘In November 2019 you pleaded guilty to 15 sexual offences against three boys while they were pupils under your care at Abberley Hall.
‘The sentence I passed on you was a long one, 19 years extended to 24, because I found you to be dangerous.
‘But that was not the extent of your offending, as illustrated by these offences today. You denied these matters, even after you had been convicted of the earlier matters.
‘Most disturbingly, you left Abberley Hall in 1999 because suspicion had been raised against your name, but the school chose to give you a reference and you went to the school in Kenya.’
When he was originally jailed last year, the court heard how Stevens’ actions were ‘ignored’ by the headteacher during the 1980s.
He has been jailed for a further three-and-a-half years to run concurrently with his existing sentence after he pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court (pictured)
The court heard how concerns had been raised at the time about Stevens’ behaviour towards the boys but nothing was done by then-headteacher Michael Haggard.
He assaulted one victim using a shampoo bottle and inappropriately touched other students while employed to look after the pastoral care of pupils.
But he used his position to groom the students, including luring them into his quarters by promising to let them watch Match of the Day on TV.
Steven, of Gwynedd, Wales, pleaded guilty to ten charges of indecent assault and five of indecency with a child before two more victims then came forward.
Prosecutor Fiona Elder said the first had been a pupil at Abberley Hall School in the 1990s where he began as a boarder when he was just eight.
Stevens, who taught mathematics and sport, had accommodation at the school, and invited certain boys into his room as a ‘treat’ to watch films or TV programmes.
As housemaster, once the boys were in bed at night, he would make his rounds, ‘creeping round the dormitories with a torch, tucking them in’.
He used that as an opportunity to fondle the boy over his pyjamas and when the boy flinched and turned away, he began giving him punishments for rejecting his advances.
Miss Elder said Stevens left Abberley Hall in 1999 as a result of suspicions over his behaviour towards some of the boys and complaints by parents.
But he remained in the teaching profession and in 2010 he took up a post at boarding school in Kenya.
Among the boys at the Kenyan school was an 11-year-old who was ‘well-developed for his age’ and found communal showering embarrassing, as Stevens would stand and watch them.
On one occasion the boy, who had taken to wearing swimming shorts in the shower, decided to wash after the other boys had finished, only for Stevens to follow him in.
Miss Elder said: ‘The defendant made him remove his swimming shorts, and when he turned to the wall made him turn round and move his hands with which he had been covering himself.
‘He then made him wash while the defendant stood and watched.
‘On another occasion the boy stayed in his room at shower time, only for Stevens to go in and tell him to undress.
‘The boy tried to cover himself with a towel and put swimming shorts on, but Stevens made him remove them and stand naked in front of him.’
The boy told his father but when the matter was raised with the headteacher, ‘she seemed to dismiss them as trouble-makers’ but it was taken further, and Stevens was dismissed.
Detective Inspector of West Mercia Police Mark Walters said previously: ‘Paul Stevens held a position of trust as a teacher, a position he abused in the worst way possible by preying on vulnerable children.
‘I would like to pay tribute to the victims who came forward and gave evidence against him.
‘Thanks to their bravery, he has now been convicted of his appalling crimes and will face justice for his actions, and hopefully this will now give them some sense of closure.’
THE Scots ballet school at the centre of allegations of sexual abuse faces is being wound up, a matter of days after police launched an investigation.
The sheriff at Oban Sheriff Court has approved the appointment of a provisional liquidator to Ballet West Ltd as the business was “no longer financially viable”, a statement from the board of trustees has revealed.
The move formally starts the process of winding up Ballet West Ltd, which will mean the closure of the school at Taynuilt, Argyll, the trustees said
The announcement came five days after formal Police Scotland probe was announced after they received “a number of reports” in connection with claims of sexual impropriety at Ballet West Scotland in Argyll.
On Tuesday, Police Scotland had said there was no police investigation because there no complaints or reports had been made, six days after allegations of sexual impropriety surfaced which led to the resignation of the Ballet West Scotland’s vice principal Jonathan Barton and the suspension of its principal, his mother Gillian Barton.
An ITV investigation heard last week from more than 60 women – former students, staff and parents – who have made allegations of Mr Barton’s inappropriate behaviour going back as far as 2004 and as recently as 2018. The allegations include sexual contact with his students.
It is alleged that as further 30 have spoken out about alleged misconduct.
Mr Barton, a 38-year-old award winning dancer and teacher quit after being accused of abusing his position to sleep with teenage pupils at the £9,000 a year boarding school his family runs.
The latest governors’ statement said: “Due to events over the last two weeks, Ballet West Ltd, a registered Scottish charity, has been driven to the point of insolvency and the trustees had a legal duty to inform the charity regulator and take appropriate action in these circumstances.
“The board was required to make an application for a liquidator to be appointed.
“The immediate impact of this is that Ballet West’s affairs will now be dealt with by the liquidator, French Duncan.”
Jonathan Barton during one practice session
Eileen Blackburn, of French Duncan LLP, has been appointed by the court as provisional liquidator.
The trustees statement added: “This means that from today Ballet West’s financial affairs and operational responsibility will the managed by the provisional liquidator, and all business activities including residential and outreach activities will cease or be wound-down immediately.
“The trustees of the charity were required to make an application at Oban Sheriff Court due to the recent decisions of some key customers and partner organisations, as the business was no longer financially viable. The charity regulator has also been informed.”
It emerged last week that the University of Highlands and Islands were among three that have cut ties with Ballet West because of concerns over allegations.
The University of Highlands and Islands closed its BA classical ballet and dance performance and HNC/HND professional stage dance courses delivered through Ballet West Scotland at the end of academic year 2011/12.
It came after the university raised “serious allegations” involving “student welfare”, with police in Oban in late 2011.
The Ballet West board has said it was “unaware” of any complaints being raised with the school by the university.
Police Scotland confirmed that it had investigated allegations about “behaviour” at the school eight years ago but it concluded with no further action “with no criminality established”.
If further emerged that the Open University ended its partnership with Ballet West in December, 2018, following “safeguarding concerns, including allegations of inappropriate sexual relations between students and a staff member”.
Bath Spa University has said it has cut its ties with Ballet West.
Bath Spa University had approved the BA Ballet degree for delivery at the Ballet West since September 2019, but they said they are now “very concerned” by allegations and have ended their partnership with immediate effect.
Jonathan Barton (left above, right below) played the part of Romeo in a Ballet West performance of Romeo and Juliet five years ago. These was taken from stage rehearsals.
Both Mr Barton’s and Mrs Barton’s membership with the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) – a body that accredits ballet teachers – have been suspended as the inquiries into what happened continue.
Ballet West last week urged anyone with any information to shed light on what happened to contact the police as it emerged there was no live investigation. It said since the allegations were broadcast last Thursday, the board had yet to receive any complaint from either students or parents.
The trustees added: “The Board of Trustees is deeply saddened by this outcome and appalled that parent and students have been placed in such a terrible situation. This is the consequence of a catastrophic sequence of events and we could not prevent this from happening.
The allegations broadcast by ITN regarding the vice-principal on Thursday August 13 were shocking. Immediate action was required in response and he resigned. The board launched an internal inquiry, committed to an external inquiry and informed Police Scotland. We hoped the Board’s prompt action would allay fears in terms of student safety going forward.”
Ex MP avoids jail for making child abuse video with one victim ‘aged 12 months’
A judge at Ipswich Crown Court sentenced him to eight months in prison suspended for two years and ordered to complete 150 hours of unpaid work.
- 11:22, 7 AUG 2020
- UPDATED14:01, 7 AUG 2020
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Disgraced former MP Eric Joyce has avoided jail after pleading guilty to making an indecent image which featured a 12-month-old child.
Joyce, 59, admitted the offence at Ipswich Crown Court in July and was instructed to sign the sex offenders register.
In court it was revealed he had on a device a 51-second film depicting a number of children, one of which was said to be 12 months old.
A judge today sentenced him to eight months in prison suspended for two years and ordered to complete 150 hours of unpaid work.
The charge alleged that Mr Joyce made the indecent image between 7 August 2013 and 6 November 2018.
Judge Mr Justice Edis, sentencing the former shadow minister on Friday, said: “You have pleaded guilty to an offence which involves the possession of a category A film of a little less than a minute’s duration.
“That film showed the sexual abuse of very young children.