09 December 2015
Police Interview 80 Potential Victims in Boarding School Abuse Investigation
Gloucestershire Police, who are leading an investigation into child sex abuse at three private schools and say they have interviewed more than 80 potential victims.
The abuse is alleged to have taken place during the 1970s and 1980s at Badgeworth Court and Dowdeswell Court schools, near Cheltenham, and Clouds House school in Wiltshire.
The schools were privately run but children were placed there by a number of local authorities. Staff who worked at the schools have denied any involvement in abusing pupils.
Gloucestershire Police have said they are trying to establish what happened at the schools and hope to discuss the case with the Crown Prosecution Service in the new year.
Previous Allegations of Abuse at Badgeworth Court
All three schools were owned by Anthony Hurley who, in 2000, appeared in court on allegations of child sex abuse but was deemed unfit to stand trial. He then died in 2003.
Also in 2000, former Badgeworth Court PE teacher, Keith Figes, was convicted of 12 counts of indecent assault against seven young boys, all of whom were aged from 10 to 14. During trial, Bristol Crown Court heard how Figes would lure young boys from their dormitories at night and then indecently assault them.
Figes pleaded guilty at trial but walked free from court after being given an 18-month sentence, suspended for two years. Mr Figes was previously jailed for three years in the 1980s for similar offences.
Gloucester County Council have acknowledged that, back in the 1970s, they became aware of allegations of abuse at Badgeworth Court and then stopped sending children there.
This further supports the urgent need for the mandatory reporting of child abuse to become law. If Gloucestershire County Council staff were legally obliged to report any abuse they find out about to police, perhaps the scale of abuse alleged to have occurred at the three schools would not have been as large as is being reported.
Survivors of abuse at Badgeworth Court, Dowdeswell Court and Clouds House who wish to come forward are advised to contact police at this stage.
Jessica Standley is a personal injury solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers UK who specialises in child abuse claims.
Slater and Gordon’s specialist team of abuse lawyers are currently representing over 800 survivors of abuse, including many people who have survived abuse at public schools.
For more information call us 24/7 on freephone 0800 916 9046 or contact us online and tell us when and where to call you.