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Former teacher Jonathan O'Brien convicted of "systematic" sexual abuse of pupils
A FORMER teacher has been convicted of the “systematic” sexual abuse of pupils in his care during the 1980s.
Jonathan O’Brien, aged 55, of Fairfield Road, Bosham, West Sussex, was found guilty of five charges of gross indecency and 15 counts of indecent assault after a four-week trial at Chichester Crown Court Twelve of the offences were committed against seven boys at Winterfold House School, Chaddesley Corbett, near Kidderminster, between 1980 and 1985.
The others were committed against three pupils at The Oratory School, near Reading, between 1985 and 1989.
Detective Sergeant Steve Cook, who led the investigation for North Worcestershire CID, said: “O’Brien engaged in the systematic abuse of boys over a long period of time. In doing so he also disgracefully abused the position of trust he was in and that was particularly relevant in this case as he was teaching in boarding schools where the children were away from their families and had nowhere else to go.
“He exploited their vulnerability and they did not feel at that time that they could come forward because ‘it wasn’t the thing to do’ and that they wouldn’t be believed.
“Now they are extremely relieved that this has come out into the open.”
Det Sgt Cook said inquiries began in November 2012 when a man came forward to say he had been sexually abused at Winterfold School by O’Brien, who taught subjects including sports and photography there in the early 80s.
The victim informed former school friends about the investigation, which led to other victims coming forward including some who had attended the Oratory School.
Further victims, including some now living abroad, contacted the police after O’Brien was initially arrested and charged in February this year.
The trial heard the offences involved pupils who were boarding at both schools and some had taken place at O’Brien’s private residence in Oxfordshire while he was teaching at the Oratory.
Det Sgt Cook added: “Hopefully today’s outcome will help the victims in this case to move on with their lives and it will reassure other victims that even if offences of this nature are reported many years later we will still investigate thoroughly and bring those responsible to justice.”
O’Brien had denied all the charges against him and was cleared of two further indecent assaults.
Sentencing will take place on a date to be fixed.
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