UK markets closed
  • NIKKEI 225

    29,751.61
    +212.88 (+0.72%)
     
  • HANG SENG

    28,497.25
    +43.97 (+0.15%)
     
  • CRUDE OIL

    60.25
    +0.55 (+0.92%)
     
  • GOLD FUTURES

    1,746.30
    +13.60 (+0.78%)
     
  • DOW

    33,582.62
    -162.78 (-0.48%)
     
  • BTC-GBP

    46,042.21
    +2,089.14 (+4.75%)
     
  • CMC Crypto 200

    1,355.35
    +61.36 (+4.74%)
     
  • ^IXIC

    13,949.69
    +99.69 (+0.72%)
     
  • ^FTAS

    3,939.31
    +5.42 (+0.14%)
     

Former Fettes College pupil calls for ban on in-house investigations into abuse

Emily Cleary
·4-min read
General view of the prestigious Fettes College in Edinburgh, the school attended by former Prime Minister Tony Blair, that has expelled four pupils after they were caught with drugs.   (Photo by Danny Lawson/PA Images via Getty Images)
Fettes College in Edinburgh, the school attended by former Prime Minister Tony Blair, thas issued an unreserved apology admitting that abuse took place (PA Images via Getty Images)

A former pupil who claims he was sexually abused at a top private school is calling for a ban on in-house investigations.

The ex-student rejected a 'paper thin' apology by Fettes College after evidence of child abuse at the prestigious school came to light.

The school,in Edinburgh, counts former prime minister Tony Blair among its alumni and this week apologised for abuse suffered by pupils during their time there.

The former pupil, who spoke through his solicitor on condition of anonymity, believes future allegations and victims could be swept under the carpet unless there is legislative change.

This week the college admitted that “on occasions it did not act responsibly or appropriately, when evidence of abuse came to light” ahead of evidence at the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry (SCAI).

The alleged victim, who also gave evidence to the SCAI, rejected the schools apology and described the schools actions as an attempt “to disguise criminal activity.”

Evidence of abuse came to light ahead of evidence at the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry (Getty)
Evidence of abuse came to light ahead of evidence at the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry (Getty)

The former pupil said he believes there should be no ‘in-house investigations’, so that future attacks can be prevented, and perpetrators held accountable. He spoke as the college issued a statement ahead of the latest phase of the SCAI which is now looking into abuse allegations at boarding schools.

He said: “I utterly reject Fettes College’s paper thin apology.

“These are real children psychologically maimed and lives blighted by inaction and deliberate attempts to disguise criminal activity.

“In my case the man who sexually assaulted me was reported to the school at the time and the school did not attempt to investigate the matter – even though I had witnesses.

“Instead the school chose to put my abuser on one month’s sabbatical so he could ‘get his head together’.

“The inaction at resulted in the abuse of dozens more children over the years and as far as I am concerned they have simply done everything they can to sweep allegations – and indeed the victims – under the carpet.

Edinburgh, Scotland, UK - July 16, 2014: The Police Scotland logo on the side of a police van, with other police vehicles in the background. Police Scotland was established in 2013 as an amalgamation of eight regional police forces across the country.
Police Scotland have launched an independent investigation into the claims (Getty)

“I believe the only way forward to stop institutional abuse – whether schools, religious groups or sports clubs – is to make it a statutory offence to not report the matter immediately to the police.

“When it comes to allegations of abuse there should be no ‘in house investigations’ – these are crimes we are talking about so it makes sense to have Police Scotland conduct impartial investigations.”

In a statement read by Jonathan Brodie QC, the school said: “We want to offer a full and unreserved apology to those who suffered abuse while at Fettes College.

“While words of apology may have limited worth, we fully accept and recognise in the past there was sexual, physical and emotional abuse of pupils while at Fettes College.

Read More From Yahoo News UK:

Private school faces racism claims from former pupils

Two robins die after getting stuck on glue trap designed to catch mice

The region where COVID infections 'showing early signs of increase'

Watch: How to stop bullying in the workplace

“That has been the result of certain members of staff and by failing to prevent peer-to-peer bullying.

“The school recognises that on occasions it did not act responsibly or appropriately, when evidence of abuse came to light. It is a matter of profound regret.

“What the school seeks to do now is to listen.

“That there have been past occasions of abuse is evident in the review of school records ,and speaking with former teachers and with former pupils.

“Two former teachers admitted sexual abuse and were required to leave.

“The school promises to listen and reflect on what is contained in the account and all evidence in the inquiry.”

The survivor is pursuing legal action with Digby Brown Solicitors.

Kim Leslie, specialist abuse lawyer at Digby Brown, said: “We are pursuing a court action to make Fettes liable for the actions of their former employee.

“The failure to report matters to the police at the time and the recent COPFS decision not to seek extradition closed doors to the alleged abuser being prosecuted.

“But lack of prosecution does not mean a survivor cannot take further action as a conviction is not always required in the civil courts.

“We will continue to support our client in his case against Fettes College but as it is ongoing it would be inappropriate to comment further.”

Watch: How the UK will leave lockdown