02 September 2015
Former Chetham’s School of Music Teacher Chris Ling Commits Suicide
A music school teacher facing child sex abuse allegations killed himself yesterday when police arrived at his home to arrest him.
Chris Ling, 58, was alleged to have abused pupils during the 1980s when he worked at Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester. He moved to the USA in the 1990s and was facing extradition back to the UK to face the charges against him.
The US Marshals Office went to arrest Ling in his California home but said “he shot himself” before they could do so. Los Angeles Police said that they have begun an investigation into “an apparent suicide.”
Ling is alleged to have abused up to 10 young girls during his time as a freelance violin teacher at Chetham's School of Music.
Previous Allegations of Abuse at Chetham’s School of Music
Ling’s move to the US followed a Greater Manchester Police investigation in 1990 into alleged child sex abuse, an investigation that ended without charges being brought against him.
The allegations against Ling were part of Operation Kiso, which has also investigated abuse at Chetham’s School of Music as well as other allegations of abuse at music schools.
A number of other teachers at Chetham’s have previously faced allegations of sexual abuse. These included former music director Michael Brewer and his ex-wife Hilary, who were imprisoned in 2013 after they were convicted of indecently assaulting a former pupil. Last year, former conductor Nicholas Smith was jailed after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting a young female pupil at Chetham’s in the 1970s.
Chris Ling’s Alleged Abuse – What Now for Survivors?
Ling’s suicide is disappointing for survivors of his alleged abuse as they are no longer able to seek justice through the criminal courts.
Survivors of abuse can still bring a claim through the civil courts and, although such claims can never reverse the psychological damage that has been done, they are always based on the individual needs of the survivor and can help them achieve a sense of closure.
In this case, an abuse claim could be made against Chetham’s School of Music who would be vicariously liable for the alleged abuse carried out by Chris Ling. This means they could be responsible for his actions on the basis that he was employed by the school and used his position as a teacher to abuse his pupils.
Unfortunately, there have been a number of cases involving abuse between music teachers and their pupils, and often teachers are able to use one-on-one tuition as an opportunity to groom pupils prior to abuse. Slater and Gordon have been contacted by survivors of abuse at Chetham’s and a number of other music schools and are experienced in dealing with these cases.
Slater and Gordon have previously spoken to Ling’s alleged victims who were awaiting the outcome of criminal proceedings and will now be advising them to consider commencing civil proceedings against the school.
We have been quoted in the national media commenting on the effect Chris Ling's suicide will have on his alleged victims and their quest for justice.
Jessica Standley is a Personal Injury Solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers UK, specialising in child abuse claims.
Slater and Gordon Lawyers have the UK’s most experienced team of abuse lawyers and are currently representing over 800 survivors of abuse, many of whom were abused at institutions such as music schools.
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