A comment from a Sexual Abuse Victim from CH

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robert totterdell
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A comment from a Sexual Abuse Victim from CH

Post by robert totterdell » Sun Aug 05, 2018 10:08 pm

Hi All

Interesting stuff from quite a few of you. I was abused, sexually abused, by Mr. Peter Burr at CH in 1969. I gave evidence and my counts were used in his trial to which he pleaded guilty. I attended the Appellate court to help get his sentence increased from 48 months to 79 months. My counts were used in this to run consecutively as opposed to concurrent. What he did to me is, I suppose my problem. It also destroyed my life.

I have read various items on this site and I have found some to be quite disturbing and some, well actually, pretty outrageous. For any Old Blue to suggest that it would have been better for the Dumblain killer to have been allowed to be a paedophile, which is what he wanted to be, is disgusting and shameful.

I have read, with deep interest, the comment concerning the issues with Mr. Webb and Burr in what was in my time at the school, as a proposed letter to the current HM.

Please be aware that both myself and two other boys have already held a meeting with Simon Reid and I am due to address the current Governing Council.

However, the comments made are extremely useful.

I suggest to the rest of you, who are not victims of the sexual abuse and extreme corporal punishment, and abuse, entertained by both Clarence Seaman and David Newsome, to shut up and show some respect in what is now a clear case of 'gross negligence' by the school authorities, as well as gross abuse against 'children entrusted to the care of CH who came from vulnerable backgrounds'.

Simon Reid is probably doing the best job that he can - no he is doing the best job - I've met him and will again. The person who made the change at CH is John Franklin, who we have to thank as he was the first headmaster to do something.

CH has now had to deal with some 24 pupils (two pending sentencing), 32 years, over 70 counts (charges) by six masters. This is a total disgrace. For any school, this would be a disgrace - for CH it is a calamity.

For those of you, and from what I have seen there are many, you need to understand the distress of victims who have come forward. You need to understand the fact that they had the courage to come forward rather than the pathetic excuse - '; it was the norm in our time'. It was not the norm it was a gross disrespect of a human -man or women - girl or boy.

I am sad to say that I was a boy who was sexually abused at CH. I am having to deal with it after hiding it for some 48 years. What saddens me is that I find Old Blues who seem to still think that this was acceptable. What if it was your daughter or son?

There are many more cases against CH. What I suggest is that some of you bother, and have the balls,(sorry girls but I am looking at my time and you were in Hertford) to come forward and say what happened to you at CH.

For the rest of you - well I don't give a damn because you're worth nothing.

Yours with best wishes,

Lt. Col. Robert G S Totterdell Phd
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Re: A comment from a Sexual Abuse Victim from CH

Post by Avon » Sun Aug 05, 2018 10:15 pm

Thanks for penning this, Colonel. It must have taken some deep reserves to do so. I wish you success in your dialogue with the school.

I would gently suggest that through your palpable anger you recognise that this sorry affair that there are victims outside the span of Seaman and Newsome. Specifically in the tenures of Baker, Hansford and Poulton too. I hope that you are not urging them to shut up?
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Re: A comment from a Sexual Abuse Victim from CH

Post by richardb » Sun Aug 05, 2018 11:33 pm

Very courageous Robert on two counts. Firstly speaking out about and then telling us. You have our utmost respect.
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Re: A comment from a Sexual Abuse Victim from CH

Post by michael scuffil » Mon Aug 06, 2018 10:22 am

My respect too.

Your reference to the Dunblane killer may refer to something I said somewhere. If so, you misunderstand me. You say 'should have been allowed to be a paedophile'. But paedophilia is a sexual orientation, and not something you are 'allowed' to be. You can only mean: 'should have been allowed to be a child abuser'. But there is no reason to suppose that the Dunblane killer would have been a child abuser, even if he was a paedophile. Paedophiles are no more likely to be child abusers than heterosexuals are to be sexual predators or rapists. I am sure there were honourable and well-behaved paedophiles on the staff at CH who would never have abused anyone except (involuntarily) in their dreams. It is a matter of public record that the Dunblane killer was repeatedly turned down for work with children on the grounds that his behaviour was regarded as suspicious. What I have said is that if he had been allowed to, he might have performed a useful public service and not flipped out.

Now, you may very well think I am wrong about this, and perhaps in the concrete case I am. But I think you should not say my opinion is 'disgusting and shameful'.
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Re: A comment from a Sexual Abuse Victim from CH

Post by marty » Mon Aug 06, 2018 10:59 am

Robert

Firstly, you have my greatest admiration for coming forward. I hope it also gives strength and encouragement to those who have hitherto felt unable to do the same. I do not share the view that because it was the ‘norm’ it was ok. If anyone has put forward that opinion on the forum I, like you, do not agree with that view. It is never ok.

Secondly, I agree wholeheartedly that the school was / is guilty of gross negligence and I would suggest that the majority of posters on this forum share that view. What many of us are keen to do is discover just how prevalent that negligence was and what the knock-on effects were. The act of moving rogue teachers on will undoubtedly have led to pupils at other schools being abused. There is also the question as to whether CH was also the recipient of rogue teachers from other schools. We need to find this out. It may be the opening of Pandora’s box. So be it.

Thirdly, I remember Mr Reid from his first time at CH and I believe he is a good man who will do his utmost, but as I have said before, and with all due respect to Mr Reid, this issue goes far beyond him and his remit as the current headmaster.

Best
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Re: A comment from a Sexual Abuse Victim from CH

Post by Mid A 15 » Mon Aug 06, 2018 11:17 am

You have my respect firstly for being brave enough to speak so openly of your experiences and secondly for finding the inner strength and resilience to rise above the trauma of being abused and go on to attain the rank and qualifications shown in your signature.

The majority of us posting regularly here share your wish that the School accepts some accountability for what has happened over many, many years.
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Re: A comment from a Sexual Abuse Victim from CH

Post by ZeroDeConduite » Mon Aug 06, 2018 11:24 am

marty wrote:
Mon Aug 06, 2018 10:59 am
I do not share the view that because it was the ‘norm’ it was ok. If anyone has put forward that opinion on the forum I, like you, do not agree with that view. It is never ok.
On the one hand life in the school was (in 'those' days) systematically 'abusive'. On the other certain picked-upon individuals found themselves in an even worse situation. Either way the 'norm' (then) was to put up (with it), shut up, internalise it, in an (often) damaging way, and live with the damage for (often) the rest of your life. In my experience. YMMV.

In my ignorance I took at face value the assertion by the school that following the modernisation of the buildings - from 1965 (to the present) - and the merger with the girls school, that 'things had changed (out of all recognition) for the better'. Coming to this forum recently and finding how much I was wrong has been fairly traumatic, to say the least.
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Re: A comment from a Sexual Abuse Victim from CH

Post by richardb » Mon Aug 06, 2018 8:05 pm

I have the utmost respect and admiration for Robert. He is entitled to lifelong anonymity and has had the courage to waive that and tell us that he was a victim of Burr.

I agree with much of what he says and am pleased that he finds the matters set out in my proposed letter helpful. Where I disagree with him is his assertion that there should be no further debate on the subject.

The forum has become a focal point where the issues can be discussed. Almost unanimously posters have been supportive of the victims and critical of the perpetrators. There have been very few stereotypical comments. It has given not just an opportunity for education and enlightenment, but also to encourage others to come forward.

Rightly or wrongly, I believe that debating the issues is healthy and shutting them down is in some respects replicating the effects of the abuse – shutting it all away, not telling anyone.

So I think that we should be able to debate the subject.

You are right that I have never been abused. But over the last 30 years I have seen plenty of victims. I have seen the effects on victims and if there is a stereotypical victim, it is that their lives have been devastated by what has happened to them.

There are a number of other victims of the CH teachers on this site, either posting or just watching. They haven’t been offered the opportunity to meet Reid yet. Nor have they had so much as a letter from the school. They were directed towards this forum and they find it both helpful and supportive. They are not blamed here, nor are they stereotyped. They find the attitude of forum posters helpful and refreshing.

It is not the view of all victims that we should just shut up about what happened and the culpability of the school. Those who have been abused should – without question – be compensated. One wonders whether the school will be so obliging then or whether they will fight tooth and nail to avoid paying out.

If there is one thing that I have managed to do, it is to draw most of the strings together in a single document by way of my draft letter to the Head Master. It makes horrific reading, yet we all know – as Robert himself has said – that there is far more to come. Let us keep the debate going in the hope that we can show others who have yet to come forward that they are supported and are believed.

In my view, closing down the discussion would be quite wrong.

This post has been approved by one of the victims in all this who is is contact with others.
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Re: A comment from a Sexual Abuse Victim from CH

Post by robert totterdell » Tue Aug 07, 2018 12:59 am

I thank all of you for your replies and comments.

For one, perhaps I did misunderstand your comments on the Dumblaine killer. For that I am sorry.

For another, I am reassured by your comments and your suggestion of a letter to the HM. Goodness, this really would help me! What you say reflects what I have been trying to say for a lot of months - but I wanted you to know that I have spoken to the current HM and Business Manager and I am due to address the council - so any help will be greatly appreciated - my god I need it!

I am fighting a battle like no other. Someone else {name edited for confidentiality purposes] started this with his story I am trying to finish it but it's bl**dy hard. There is just so much information and there are now yet more cases to come - well unless the police decide to simply give up.

What you must all understand is that what happened happened. I can not find any anger against Mr. Burr - he simply did what he did. It changed my life as a young boy forever - it really did. I have written personal statements to the Courts and one of the key points, and which I must admit and say is I am celibate from what happened. No loving relationship; no sex in any way; no wife or children or no 'gay' relationship - my life has had none of this and is empty from it.

My anger and frustration is why on earth didn't someone, anyone, do something about it?

All of my life, since Burr interfered with me, I have fought for other people and I still do. For me it is that I am of no importance - I see the faces of and the hurt caused to others who were my friends and fellow students at the school and some of whom are now dead.

The sexual and corporal abuse in my time at CH was horrendous under two headmasters. With the exception of Dobbie, I knew all of the others who have either pleaded guilty or been found guilty and the one pending a court case and probably a few more to come.

You need to understand why I am angry because that anger comes from extreme mental pain - just perhaps I could have done a bit more to stop what was happening, even as a boy. I didn't and the guilt of that will remain with me for the rest of my life. I protected a few and am proud to say that Newsome both left me alone and allowed my protection to cover others. But in the end, I failed as a boy to reveal or stop the abuse.

Well now I am changing that by simply standing up, and being counted, and I am doing this in style because I need answers.

I hope that this helps all of you to understand where I am coming from.

I doubt that I will enter another post but my best wishes go to all of you.

Rob
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Re: A comment from a Sexual Abuse Victim from CH

Post by richardb » Tue Aug 07, 2018 8:27 am

Rob, I am not criticising you for a moment. On the contrary, I am highly impressed by you.

But, do you really think that if you had spoken out at the time it happened that you would have been believed? You would have got 6 across the backside from Newsome for lying.

That is how abusers work. They rely upon their victims not being believed.

When you all spoke out together, there was a solid body of thoroughly decent adults who could not be ignored and when confronted with it all, Burr had no alternative but to admit it.
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Re: A comment from a Sexual Abuse Victim from CH

Post by VerisonaLaw » Tue Aug 07, 2018 9:27 am

Great admiration and respect, firstly for disclosing and for pushing with criminal proceedings but also waiving your entitled anonymity to support others.

The School appears to have failed many and save for some negative press have evaded any culpablity in these matters (when they are as culpable as the perpetrators themselves). I appreciate that the School is run by differing staff now, but they must stand to be accounted just as those who committed the crimes have had to.

Unfortunately the only recourse against the School is that of civil recourse seeking damages for compensation.
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Re: A comment from a Sexual Abuse Victim from CH

Post by Chris Blewett » Tue Aug 07, 2018 10:49 am

I, too, had a meeting with Simon Reid, not so many months ago. Two members of the Safeguarding Team were also there and from the the first moment, it was made clear to me that Mr Reid had cleared his diary for me and I could have as much time as I needed. Very different from my two meetings with Newsome, which started with 6 strokes of the cane before I was even told what I was being caned for.

Please do not be afraid to reach out to the Safeguarding Unit they really do care and will try and help you - you just need to courage and strength to find your voice and use it. Yes, its not easy but the relief when people listen to your voice has to be experienced.
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Re: A comment from a Sexual Abuse Victim from CH

Post by Sweyn Forkbeard » Tue Aug 07, 2018 5:35 pm

Reflecting on Chris's post, I recall in about 1969/70 the headteacher having a wild panic and hauling all sorts of pupils in. Was this part of a plan to get or suppress some information? It also makes you wonder again about the 'suicide/accident' we had in the school about 68-69 time.

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Re: A comment from a Sexual Abuse Victim from CH

Post by Jim Rayner » Thu Aug 09, 2018 11:29 am

Sweyn Forkbeard wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 5:35 pm
Reflecting on Chris's post, I recall in about 1969/70 the headteacher having a wild panic and hauling all sorts of pupils in. Was this part of a plan to get or suppress some information? It also makes you wonder again about the 'suicide/accident' we had in the school about 68-69 time.
I don't think it would be appropriate or helpful to post the details here but I have been in contact with Sussex Police about the tragedy in February 1969. If anyone who was at the school at the time would like to see the correspondence I'm happy to copy it to you. Essentially, the police have considered the question but found no evidence either way.

As to the hauling in of all sorts of pupils, I'm not sure that was connected to abuse. There was a big incident during Seaman's last term in 1970 when a large group were caught breaking into the tuckshop at around 1 am and stealing ice creams. From memory most were in the top year of junior houses and had pulled the same stunt several nights in a row so it should have obvious there would be a group of staff waiting for them in the dark. I don't recall whether any were expelled but the planned transfers to senior houses had to be completely re-worked so as to split up the culprits.
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Re: A comment from a Sexual Abuse Victim from CH

Post by J.R. » Thu Aug 09, 2018 1:52 pm

Jim Rayner wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 11:29 am
Sweyn Forkbeard wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 5:35 pm
Reflecting on Chris's post, I recall in about 1969/70 the headteacher having a wild panic and hauling all sorts of pupils in. Was this part of a plan to get or suppress some information? It also makes you wonder again about the 'suicide/accident' we had in the school about 68-69 time.
I don't think it would be appropriate or helpful to post the details here but I have been in contact with Sussex Police about the tragedy in February 1969. If anyone who was at the school at the time would like to see the correspondence I'm happy to copy it to you. Essentially, the police have considered the question but found no evidence either way.

As to the hauling in of all sorts of pupils, I'm not sure that was connected to abuse. There was a big incident during Seaman's last term in 1970 when a large group were caught breaking into the tuckshop at around 1 am and stealing ice creams. From memory most were in the top year of junior houses and had pulled the same stunt several nights in a row so it should have obvious there would be a group of staff waiting for them in the dark. I don't recall whether any were expelled but the planned transfers to senior houses had to be completely re-worked so as to split up the culprits.

Doesn't say much about the standard of education then, does it ?
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