Did anyone know?

This section was setup in August 2018 in order to move the existing related discussions from other sections into this new section to group them together, and separate from the other CH-related topics.

Moderator: Moderators

Post Reply
robert totterdell
GE (Great Erasmus)
Posts: 100
Joined: Mon Jun 25, 2018 4:58 pm
Real Name: Mr Robert G S Totterdell
Has thanked: 13 times
Been thanked: 232 times

Did anyone know?

Post by robert totterdell »

Hi All

We all have our own views on what happened at CH (at Horsham) from 1969 to 2001, although I would suggest, on police evidence 1963 to 2014.

I suppose the fundamental question is - did people know about what was going on or did they not? That is not for me to answer. It is for you.

When you were at the school did you know what sexual abuse was happening or was it just 'another normal thing''?

Did masters not committing abuse know what was going on?

Did anyone link the cases of extreme 'Corporal punishment' to sexual desires?

Simply did you know what was happening to others or not?

One of the questions that I will be asking the governing council of today is, when I address them as the first boy or girl to do so since the Foundation back in 1552, is it plausible to suggest that no member of the previous authorities, being the Governing Councils, including Alomoners, not know what exactly was happening at CH?

Your comments will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks

Rob

TMF
GE (Great Erasmus)
Posts: 120
Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2014 6:03 am
Real Name: TMF
Has thanked: 168 times
Been thanked: 83 times

Re: Did anyone know?

Post by TMF »

I knew that Webb was nicknamed 'Pedo', that this nickname was known by all boys that I knew (and masters, I believe) and shouted at him by the entire dining hall on one occasion, and Webb never officiated in the dining hall after this.

One can read on this site that Webb's departure was widely discussed (and described as 'public knowledge' in February 1984, that there was a newspaper article on the topic of his leaving around this date, and that the headmaster at the time described Webb's 'resignation' (but mentioning 'behavior') to parents in a letter.

Yet, Webb was a helper in a scout summer camp in July 1984. Hence, I conclude that knowledge of Webb was widespread.

See:

'the Webb situation was public knowledge':
http://www.chforum.info/php/viewtopic.p ... 2&#p142402

On the newspaper article (copy to be tracked down):
http://www.chforum.info/php/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=5217

On the letter written by headmaster Baker dated February 24th 1984 discussing Webb's departure:
http://www.chforum.info/php/viewtopic.p ... 34#p142434

Webb and Burr on a scouting trip in July 1984 - with pupils and masters - as 'helpers' (Burr having 'left' in 1975):
http://www.chforum.info/php/viewtopic.p ... 3&#p141333
'On this particular thread, Webb turned up on Scout Summer camp as a helper in July 1984, staying on Burr's narrowboat that was moored next to the campsite. Burr was there for a few days as well.'
These users thanked the author TMF for the post:
richardb (Wed Aug 22, 2018 11:22 am)
Rating: 5.88%

Elvie
LE (Little Erasmus)
Posts: 54
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2018 11:05 am
Real Name: Bal fobwell
Has thanked: 32 times
Been thanked: 58 times

Re: Did anyone know?

Post by Elvie »

Clearly there is a difference between rumour and fact. Being at CH between the late 80s to mid 90’s, i can add the following;

We knew about teachers and those who were over 16. However when they became public knowledge the teachers moved on e.g. Husband, as well as another teacher who left the school with a girl in tow (consensual).

There were witnesses to some of Dobbie’s lewd behaviour. He was exactly as has been reported elsewhere, he had his favourites. However my recollection is that much of what was witnessed was often ‘borderline’ behaviour, and as a result went unreported. Shrewd and then Shrewsbury.

Husband lived in one of the houses near the end of the little-side path. It was a well-trodden path, which led to rumours, which in turn transpired to be facts.

I completely reject any assertion that teachers were unaware of the rumours. It’s about time someone from the teaching staff stood up and admitted what they and we know, which is that this behaviour was;
-conveniently assumed to be nothing more than rumour
-or; attributed to troublemaking pupils
-or; tolerated until such time as the evidence overwhelmed and the teacher (or even pupil) had to be moved on, with glowing reference

This was the era of Jimmy Seville, Rolf Harris, and many many others; the culture was to cover it up; obviously CH wasn’t any different. I do not mean that to imply that it was acceptable in any way, or that the perpetrators shoudn’t have the book thrown at them.
These users thanked the author Elvie for the post (total 4):
richardb (Wed Aug 22, 2018 11:22 am) • yossarian (Tue Sep 04, 2018 7:43 am) • Poor_Sunyol (Thu Jan 31, 2019 4:30 pm) • Pe.A (Sun Apr 07, 2019 9:15 am)
Rating: 23.53%

Sweyn Forkbeard
2nd Former
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Jul 24, 2018 2:01 pm
Real Name: Adrian Gray
Has thanked: 4 times
Been thanked: 7 times

Re: Did anyone know?

Post by Sweyn Forkbeard »

Obviously they did. When H***** left in about 1972 the first we knew was that he didn't turn up for our Saturday morning lesson. But I distinctly recollect being told that he had 'been given one last chance' at CH and had blotted his copybook by getting a pupil drunk. Somehow we also got to know who that pupil was. So my question would be - why was this man given one more chance at OUR school when there was clearly a known pattern of behaviour?

michael scuffil
Button Grecian
Posts: 1612
Joined: Tue Oct 30, 2007 12:53 pm
Real Name: michael scuffil
Location: germany
Has thanked: 18 times
Been thanked: 67 times

Re: Did anyone know?

Post by michael scuffil »

I can only speak for pre-1963 (but having known Seaman quite well, I would say that he acted on any cases he knew about, so that would take us to 1970. 'Acted on' did not mean the same thing as it does now: no one in those days thought of involving the police.)

It is impossible to say how much other staff knew. As for boys, in the case of Pink, he was regarded by the whole Prep as a dirty old man, largely -- I was told -- because of his propensity for always 'happening' to be where naked boys congregated, and ogling. I received an account (I believe, credible) of actual abuse from a victim after he left, but I don't think that was common knowledge. (But see rockfreak's account of the revelations by the 'house clown' which led to Pink's departure.)

'Did anyone link the cases of extreme 'Corporal punishment' to sexual desires?' The answer to this is certainly 'Yes', though most boys were probably sexually not mature enough to make the link. However, Bryan Magee (MP and Fellow of Balliol) was once caned by the head of music, Dr Lang, and says of the experience 'He was one of two or three masters who were notorious for perceptibly getting an erection when they beat a boy, and he laid it on with a kind of mad ferociousness' ('Growing up in a War', p. 214). His account (p. 304) of Macnutt's caning activities (albeit hearsay) also leave no doubt.

Two masters were actually removed for abuse during my time, but this happened while I was still young, and I only heard about the abuse afterwards. As I came to understand these things better, no rumours reached me, and I think they would have done. As I said before, Seaman ran a tight ship (and personally was a moral crusader). There were certainly men whose sexual orientation was paedophile, as I see in retrospect, but they could control their appetites. The only one who overstepped the mark, in my opinion, was Littlefield, who besides his caning activities (I'm sure he was one of those referred to by Magee) also insisted, uniquely, on personally controlling the hot-water supply in the changing room. (I suspect Seaman didn't know this; it's the sort of thing he would have stopped.)

In reply to your first question: I do not believe most boys knew of the few cases of frank abuse by staff in or around my time, and certainly no one thought it was 'another normal thing'.

To sum up: I don't believe there was a widespread undercurrent of (genital) abuse by staff during the period 1955 to 1963. Having known Seaman and Newsome personally, I do not believe they would knowingly have retained, or provided a good reference for, a staff member against whom there was credible evidence.
These users thanked the author michael scuffil for the post (total 5):
Jim Rayner (Wed Aug 22, 2018 9:21 am) • J.R. (Wed Aug 22, 2018 10:31 am) • richardb (Wed Aug 22, 2018 11:21 am) • jhopgood (Wed Aug 22, 2018 5:21 pm) • Ever Bluer (Sun Sep 02, 2018 6:10 pm)
Rating: 29.41%
Th.B. 27 1955-63

User avatar
J.R.
Forum Moderator
Posts: 15791
Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2005 4:53 pm
Real Name: John Rutley
Location: Dorking, Surrey
Has thanked: 398 times
Been thanked: 193 times

Re: Did anyone know?

Post by J.R. »

My view is almost identical to Michael's above. Our CH dates being very similar. There was only one master who ever raised a slight suspicion in my mind. His name hasn't appeared on these threads, so I won't elaborate.

Seaman did run a tight ship. I suspect it went pear shaped after his departure.
John Rutley. Prep B & Coleridge B. 1958-1963.

scrub
GE (Great Erasmus)
Posts: 150
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2018 11:11 pm
Real Name: Tim
Has thanked: 14 times
Been thanked: 84 times

Re: Did anyone know?

Post by scrub »

As someone who was a pupil from 89-96;
- When you were at the school did you know what sexual abuse was happening or was it just 'another normal thing''?
No, and if I had there's no way I would have called it normal.

- Did masters not committing abuse know what was going on?
This is something I've thought about a lot since first learning of the cases earlier this year. On the one hand I find it difficult to believe that these abuses were carried out with such secrecy that no-one besides the victims and abusers knew anything at the time. CH was a small country village in many respects, put simply, secrets were rare and everyone seemed to know your business. On the other hand, there are teachers who had their children at the school as boarders and allowed them to go on scout camps and other extra curricular excursions. Knowing one or two of them as I did, I simply cannot believe that they would hand their children over to known/heavily suspected abusers. Put simply, I don't believe that no-one knew, but I find it equally hard to believe that everyone knew.

- Simply did you know what was happening to others or not?
No, I did not.

- One of the questions that I will be asking the governing council of today is, when I address them as the first boy or girl to do so since the Foundation back in 1552, is it plausible to suggest that no member of the previous authorities, being the Governing Councils, including Alomoners, not know what exactly was happening at CH?
Over the time frames you've put down, IMO, it's not plausible that nothing was known and that this all came as a great big shock to everybody when the investigations started in 2016(?). Take the case of Karim for example; an OB feted as a 'success story' who was supported as a pupil by another notable OB gets moved on for reasons that aren't talked about publicly. Call me naive, but that seems like the sort of thing that a governing council gets to hear about. Apparently not in a formal manner, but definitely over brandy and cigars at the end of dinner. This assumes that the four complaints made against him only went as far as the HM and the parents who made them didn't try to take it further.

As always though, there's what I know, what I suspect, and what can be proven. Three separate things.

I wish you the best of luck with your address to the council.
These users thanked the author scrub for the post (total 2):
marty (Wed Aug 22, 2018 10:59 am) • richardb (Wed Aug 22, 2018 11:21 am)
Rating: 11.76%
ThB 89-91, PeA 93-96

User avatar
marty
Grecian
Posts: 832
Joined: Tue Jan 18, 2005 1:29 pm
Real Name: Marty E
Location: Buckinghamshire
Has thanked: 59 times
Been thanked: 112 times

Re: Did anyone know?

Post by marty »

Agree with everything Tim / Scrub says.

Let's face it Mr Poulton knew about Mr Karim.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-sussex-43742967
These users thanked the author marty for the post:
richardb (Wed Aug 22, 2018 11:20 am)
Rating: 5.88%
My therapist says I have a preoccupation with vengeance. We’ll see about that.

richardb
Forum Moderator
Posts: 872
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 2:23 pm
Real Name: Richard Bloomfield
Location: Tyne and Wear
Has thanked: 539 times
Been thanked: 446 times

Re: Did anyone know?

Post by richardb »

I believe that sexual abuse existed pre 1963 Rob.

First, there was AH Buck.

Second, there was Frank McCracken who was banned from the premises as undesirable.

Corporal punishment is a wholly different issue. A lot of boys were beaten and in many cases it was for no good reason, although it is difficult to know whether teachers got any sort of pleasure from it.

It is about time that the school were taken to task for corporal punishment. As well as the pleasure that may have been derived from the act of beating pupils, some teachers inflicted pain well beyond what was reasonable chastisement.

Beatings were well known. Sexual abuse was something else altogether and I would be surprised if the victims ever wanted to share it, so much of it went on unchecked.

With the likes of Husband and Dobbie, it is remarkable that no other members of staff ever suspected them of inappropriate conduct (consensual or otherwise). We know that Husband was moved on because he was "caught" but we don't know how he was caught.

Husband and Dobbie each seem to have known what the other was doing, likewise it is not unreasonable to assume that Webb and Burr knew about each other..

CodFlabAndMuck
GE (Great Erasmus)
Posts: 131
Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2018 12:55 pm
Real Name: J Eabnvu
Has thanked: 63 times
Been thanked: 55 times

Re: Did anyone know?

Post by CodFlabAndMuck »

Agree
Last edited by CodFlabAndMuck on Tue Aug 28, 2018 9:43 am, edited 2 times in total.

CodFlabAndMuck
GE (Great Erasmus)
Posts: 131
Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2018 12:55 pm
Real Name: J Eabnvu
Has thanked: 63 times
Been thanked: 55 times

Re: Did anyone know?

Post by CodFlabAndMuck »

Their offending was so brazened
Last edited by CodFlabAndMuck on Tue Aug 28, 2018 9:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
These users thanked the author CodFlabAndMuck for the post:
richardb (Wed Aug 22, 2018 11:34 am)
Rating: 5.88%

richardb
Forum Moderator
Posts: 872
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 2:23 pm
Real Name: Richard Bloomfield
Location: Tyne and Wear
Has thanked: 539 times
Been thanked: 446 times

Re: Did anyone know?

Post by richardb »

Fraudsters often work on the basis that the more upfront they are, the less likely they are to get caught.

Sex offenders are often the same. And they deploy strategies such as: "No one will believe you above me" which is entirely apt for teachers.
These users thanked the author richardb for the post:
CodFlabAndMuck (Wed Aug 22, 2018 11:39 am)
Rating: 5.88%

yamaha
GE (Great Erasmus)
Posts: 199
Joined: Wed Dec 23, 2009 5:27 pm
Has thanked: 11 times
Been thanked: 55 times

Re: Did anyone know?

Post by yamaha »

Are all victims being asked if they would like to meet/address the governing council?
These users thanked the author yamaha for the post:
richardb (Wed Aug 22, 2018 11:53 am)
Rating: 5.88%

ZeroDeConduite
LE (Little Erasmus)
Posts: 51
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2018 11:29 am
Real Name: PrA8PeA5
Has thanked: 27 times
Been thanked: 24 times

Re: Did anyone know?

Post by ZeroDeConduite »

@Robert Totterdell
I am sure all here touched by these matters offer our heartfelt respect to you for taking on this 'spokesperson' role. Thank you.
As someone who has been affected (long-term) by other aspects of my life at CH - not entirely the school's fault in my case - I sincerely hope you can find the 'language' to talk about such things. Living one's life behind a 'mask' to hide a less-than-satisfactory emotional reality comes at a cost.
robert totterdell wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 11:26 pm
When you were at the school did you know what sexual abuse was happening or was it just 'another normal thing''?
What was normal at CH was a venerated and time-honoured tradition of extreme abnormal eccentricity - to the great benefit of academic excellence. But also to the extreme detriment of emotional stability.

How can a child be expected to determine the difference between amiable benign eccentricity and the exploitative abuse of a 'masking' sexual psychopath, if they are not the one suffering the abuse?

So I do not have the language to comment on the 'who knew what' debate. Like Michael Scuffil and J.R. I knew more or less nothing during my time at CH. Hidden in plain sight behind my own mask, I was unable to have a 'theory of mind' insight into what lay beyond the eccentricity that concealed the masks of any abusers.

Both the abuser and the abused end up living a damaged life behind their own separately constituted mask, in a 'bubble' of a self-perpetuating 'reality distortion field', which is carefully (= compulsively) kept separate from 'normal' life.

One consequence of this is:
richardb wrote:
Tue Jul 31, 2018 10:13 pm
One of the curious features of paedophiles is that they do not slow down as they get older. XXX, for example, is in his 70s but he is still assessed as posing a significant risk of causing serious harm (probably to teenage boys).
For the victim the the closure of justice doesn't come easily, for the abuser remains oblivious to their suffering.

I hope the Governing Council can see beyond the messenger to the message.
Last edited by ZeroDeConduite on Wed Aug 22, 2018 12:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
PrepA 1951-2 Peele A 1953-60

User avatar
Mid A 15
Button Grecian
Posts: 3126
Joined: Thu May 19, 2005 1:38 pm
Real Name: Claude Rains
Location: The Patio Of England (Kent)
Has thanked: 128 times
Been thanked: 96 times

Re: Did anyone know?

Post by Mid A 15 »

robert totterdell wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 11:26 pm
Hi All

We all have our own views on what happened at CH (at Horsham) from 1969 to 2001, although I would suggest, on police evidence 1963 to 2014.

I suppose the fundamental question is - did people know about what was going on or did they not? That is not for me to answer. It is for you.

When you were at the school did you know what sexual abuse was happening or was it just 'another normal thing''?

Did masters not committing abuse know what was going on?

Did anyone link the cases of extreme 'Corporal punishment' to sexual desires?

Simply did you know what was happening to others or not?

One of the questions that I will be asking the governing council of today is, when I address them as the first boy or girl to do so since the Foundation back in 1552, is it plausible to suggest that no member of the previous authorities, being the Governing Councils, including Alomoners, not know what exactly was happening at CH?

Your comments will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks

Rob
When you were at the school did you know what sexual abuse was happening or was it just 'another normal thing''? No

Did masters not committing abuse know what was going on? Don't know

Did anyone link the cases of extreme 'Corporal punishment' to sexual desires? Not to my knowledge and I was too immature / naive / innocent / in my own world to even be aware of a potential connection myself.

Simply did you know what was happening to others or not? Not directly no. The only 'hint' I was aware of was a rumour about the reason for the sudden departure of a Master, not directly named on this forum, to whom there have been oblique references that could be picked up on by those present at the time.

I am probably not a great witness as I spent a lot of time 'in my own bubble' so was unaware of extraneous matters in many ways.
Ma A, Mid A 65 -72

Post Reply