St Paul’s school: More than £500K paid to sex abuse victims

St Paul's School

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Abuse of pupils took place at the prestigious public school from the 1970s to 1990s

Victims of sexual abuse at one of the country’s leading private schools have so far been paid compensation of more than £500,000, the BBC understands.

Settlements were reached during a two-year inquiry to establish the scale of past abuse at St Paul’s school, London.

The BBC spoke to victims who revealed the compensation figures; others could not due to non-disclosure agreements.

A serious case review found complaints were made by former pupils against 32 staff over several decades.

Five former teachers were convicted over offences committed.

The £13,000-a-term independent school, in Barnes, whose former pupils include ex-politicians George Osborne and Dominic Grieve, saw more than 80 individual complaints emerge against 32 of its staff in the period 2013 and 2015.

These allegations mainly dated from the 1960s to 1990s.

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The school said it accepts full responsibility for the past abuse experienced by pupils

The Richmond Safeguarding Children Board review published on 13 January said the school must issue an “unambiguous statement” that it accepts full responsibility for the past abuse.

A high master apologised in a letter to Old Paulines, the name given to former pupils of the school in Barnes, south west London.

Professor Mark Bailey, said: “We accept full responsibility for the past abuse experienced by pupils at the school.

“Today we repeat that apology unreservedly to those who have come forward and to those who have not felt able to.”

One former victim said it had taken too long: “I have fought for many years to get St Paul’s to accept responsibility, as apologies without taking responsibility are meaningless,” he told the BBC.

‘Opportunity for grooming’

The review was launched in 2017 following a Metropolitan police investigation and several prosecutions ending with the conviction of Patrick Marshall, a former rowing coach.

Marshall was jailed for 18 years for 24 counts of indecent assault on 10 former pupils at St Paul’s and another school during the 1970s and 80s.

The review found safeguarding had improved considerably in recent years, as the failure of past regimes to identify and act on suspected abuse became clear.

“St Paul’s is unlikely to be different from many other institutions of its time. We should not judge the response of the school in the past by today’s standards”.

The review found the use of alcohol, leisure time spent with pupils and staff being invited by parents to their homes, all created the opportunity for grooming.

Complaints against nine further staff were unproven or are subject to continuing investigation.

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