This is London, Associated Newspapers, Ltd., September 29, 2000

Child abuse probe at boys' school
by Stewart Payne

Child abuse allegations at one of Britain's leading public schools, St Paul's in Barnes are being investigated by police after a former pupil claimed he was sexually assaulted by a former master.

The ex-pupil was a weekly boarder at the all-boys school and alleges the assaults took place on school property. He has been interviewed by Metropolitan police child protection officers.

The alleged assaults took place in the 1980s but the former pupil, Reuven Nedas, now 27, says he was too frightened to report the matter at the time and did not think he would be believed.

He says the assaults left him emotionally scarred and a disruptive pupil, leading to him becoming addicted to drugs and in need of psychiatric help.

Police have spoken to past and present teaching staff at the school, which charges up to 3,400 a term. The school has written to parents of former pupils to see if any others have similar allegations against the bachelor teacher who is no longer at the school. He has been traced by police, arrested and interviewed. He no longer works with children and has denied the allegation.

Mr Nedas made his allegations to the Evening Standard. In the course of its inquiries the newspaper has found another incident when St Paul's allowed a master to resign after he was discovered to be privately spanking boys, against school policy.

He agreed to leave after a cleaner found pornographic literature in his room together with a register of boys whom he had spanked. The literature was said to be of a homosexual nature and related to spankings and canings.

No official explanation of his sudden disappearance was given other than for "family reasons". Police were not called in and no attempt was made to see if his activities had extended beyond that suggested by the material found in his room.

Child welfare experts expressed surprise that the school did not call in the police. The NSPCC said: "That would have been the appropriate step."

The school informed the Department of Education where a spokeswoman said it had received no evidence of a criminal offence. "The school advised us that the teacher left after it came to light that he had broken school rules by administering corporal punishment to pupils - something the school did not allow," she said.

Corporal punishment in independent schools has since been outlawed. Because no further action was taken the teacher was not placed on the department's register of those unsuitable to work with children.

The school declined to comment on the spanking episode. And of the current police investigation, acting High Master Mr Benjamin Taylor would only say: "I am advised that I should make no comment on this matter."

Officers from Feltham Child Protection Unit have taken statements from Mr Nedas and the former teacher he alleges assaulted him.

Details of the case have been submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service which has ruled that there is insufficient evidence to support a prosecution. But the officers say that their inquiry remains open and they are still anxious to hear from former pupils. Anyone with information is asked to contact them on 020 8247 6331.


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