Husband & Dobbie - VERDICTS

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

Janey Jam-Jar
UF (Upper Fourth)
Posts: 85
Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2018 11:56 am
Real Name: Catherine/CJ
Location: Devon
Has thanked: 30 times
Been thanked: 44 times

Re: Husband & Dobbie - VERDICTS

Post by Janey Jam-Jar » Sun Jul 08, 2018 12:45 pm

“DELETED by User”
Last edited by Janey Jam-Jar on Sun Jul 08, 2018 6:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Golfer
GE (Great Erasmus)
Posts: 178
Joined: Sat Jul 07, 2018 5:13 pm
Real Name: Tim Askew
Has thanked: 50 times
Been thanked: 44 times

Re: Husband & Dobbie - VERDICTS

Post by Golfer » Sun Jul 08, 2018 1:36 pm

My sincere apologies if I have got this wrong. From my incomplete reading of press reports, themselves incomplete / inaccurate records, I can't recall it being said that staff - apart from Dobbie - had been told of anything that Husband was on trial for. I say this not to defend anyone or anything, just to ensure that the discussion is factually based.

Janey Jam-Jar
UF (Upper Fourth)
Posts: 85
Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2018 11:56 am
Real Name: Catherine/CJ
Location: Devon
Has thanked: 30 times
Been thanked: 44 times

Re: Husband & Dobbie - VERDICTS

Post by Janey Jam-Jar » Sun Jul 08, 2018 1:58 pm

As with others, the trials have brought me back here after a few years absence from the forum.

I was both Hertford and Horsham 1983-1990. Karim, Dobbie and Husband all taught me. Karim came as a surprise, but not the others. And yes that is JAH in the Pickering photo.

A couple of things from my perspective.

Firstly the overarching theme is the lack of response from those higher up who knew what was happening and seem to have put the name of the school above the welfare of minors. I had hoped deep in my heart that the senior management team weren’t aware of the gross abuses being carried out on their watch otherwise how could they not have done something? I’m sad and angry to be wrong but, given my own experience of calling something in, I shouldn’t be surprised. On my Grecians I had reported my serious concerns about a pupil to two members of staff (nothing directly to do with these cases) and was effectively told by one to shut up, be more concerned with how my A level work was going and dismissed from their presence. The person I was concerned about killed himself a few weeks later. And yes, the notion that times have changed are being thrown about left, right and centre in the various online discussions about all this. But it wasn't the Dark Ages. Theories about child/teenage development and welfare were not in their infancy in the 1980s.

Secondly anyone with any interest in the effect that boarding education can have on a child might do well to look to the work of Nick Duffell (‘The Making Of Them’ and ‘Trauma, Abandonment & Privilege’) and Joy Schaverien (‘Boarding School Syndrome’). It makes for sad reading.

[reinstated by Julian from the thread that was cut so might not follow the train of conversation! Sorry for any confusion!]
Last edited by Janey Jam-Jar on Mon Jul 09, 2018 11:36 am, edited 2 times in total.
These users thanked the author Janey Jam-Jar for the post:
Ever Bluer (Tue Jul 10, 2018 12:08 pm)
Rating: 5.88%

Janey Jam-Jar
UF (Upper Fourth)
Posts: 85
Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2018 11:56 am
Real Name: Catherine/CJ
Location: Devon
Has thanked: 30 times
Been thanked: 44 times

Re: Husband & Dobbie - VERDICTS

Post by Janey Jam-Jar » Sun Jul 08, 2018 2:10 pm

Does anyone know why the press have not referred to Dobbie as the Chaplain, just as ‘teacher’ or ‘housemaster’? One of the complainants reported her abuse by JAH to ‘the Chaplain’ but it was never taken any further. Why haven’t they made the link?

[reinstated by Julian from elsewhere. The answer has already been given - it was a different Chaplain]
Last edited by Janey Jam-Jar on Mon Jul 09, 2018 11:34 am, edited 2 times in total.

Golfer
GE (Great Erasmus)
Posts: 178
Joined: Sat Jul 07, 2018 5:13 pm
Real Name: Tim Askew
Has thanked: 50 times
Been thanked: 44 times

Re: Husband & Dobbie - VERDICTS

Post by Golfer » Sun Jul 08, 2018 2:18 pm

The press report I read said that the incident reported to Neil Fleming related to the Dobbie case.

Jim Rayner
LE (Little Erasmus)
Posts: 56
Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2007 9:49 pm
Real Name: Jim Rayner
Has thanked: 51 times
Been thanked: 79 times

Re: Husband & Dobbie - VERDICTS

Post by Jim Rayner » Sun Jul 08, 2018 2:21 pm

I don't think that's quite right.

The reports I've seen say that it was the mother of one of the eight victims of Dobbie who reported it to Neil Fleming.

During some of the gatherings boys were rated in order of their attractiveness, a girl was given alcohol and opened the bathroom door to find Dobbie "grinning at her" with his trousers undone. Fearing he wanted to have sex, she left. She told her mother after leaving the school, who phoned housemaster Neil Flemming but no action was taken.

The main point still stands. A witness has said on oath that a serious complaint was made to an appropriate person in the school. For whatever reason the school did not act upon it. We don't know the chronology but if action had been taken at the time maybe some of his other offences could have been prevented.
LHA 67-70; ThA 70-74

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

Re: Husband & Dobbie - VERDICTS

Post by yamaha » Sun Jul 08, 2018 6:57 pm

This is the only press report I have seen that mentions Dobbie's status as a cleric.

https://www.shropshirestar.com/news/cri ... ung-as-12/

User avatar
J.R.
Forum Moderator
Posts: 15699
Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2005 4:53 pm
Real Name: John Rutley
Location: Dorking, Surrey
Has thanked: 360 times
Been thanked: 185 times

Re: Husband & Dobbie - VERDICTS

Post by J.R. » Sun Jul 08, 2018 6:59 pm

Don't believe everything the press reports. Check everything carefully.
John Rutley. Prep B & Coleridge B. 1958-1963.

DazedandConfused
Deputy Grecian
Posts: 266
Joined: Wed Jun 20, 2018 7:20 pm
Real Name: J
Has thanked: 97 times
Been thanked: 157 times

Re: Husband & Dobbie - VERDICTS

Post by DazedandConfused » Sun Jul 08, 2018 7:26 pm

Golfer wrote:
Sun Jul 08, 2018 1:36 pm
My sincere apologies if I have got this wrong. From my incomplete reading of press reports, themselves incomplete / inaccurate records, I can't recall it being said that staff - apart from Dobbie - had been told of anything that Husband was on trial for. I say this not to defend anyone or anything, just to ensure that the discussion is factually based.
Have you read the statement from one of the victims posted on another thread?

Golfer
GE (Great Erasmus)
Posts: 178
Joined: Sat Jul 07, 2018 5:13 pm
Real Name: Tim Askew
Has thanked: 50 times
Been thanked: 44 times

Re: Husband & Dobbie - VERDICTS

Post by Golfer » Sun Jul 08, 2018 7:48 pm

Yes. It is a very moving statement. She said that she reported it to another chaplain - not Dobbie - who did not pass it on?

DazedandConfused
Deputy Grecian
Posts: 266
Joined: Wed Jun 20, 2018 7:20 pm
Real Name: J
Has thanked: 97 times
Been thanked: 157 times

Re: Husband & Dobbie - VERDICTS

Post by DazedandConfused » Sun Jul 08, 2018 8:06 pm

Golfer wrote:
Sun Jul 08, 2018 7:48 pm
Yes. It is a very moving statement. She said that she reported it to another chaplain - not Dobbie - who did not pass it on?
The part I found the most upsetting was returning to CH after leaving and them still taking no action.

User avatar
marty
Grecian
Posts: 825
Joined: Tue Jan 18, 2005 1:29 pm
Real Name: Marty E
Location: Buckinghamshire
Has thanked: 58 times
Been thanked: 106 times

Re: Husband & Dobbie - VERDICTS

Post by marty » Sun Jul 08, 2018 10:27 pm

The school's consistent line in all of this is, to paraphrase: "we're sorry this happened, but it was a long time ago and everything is much better now".

Instead of committing to a) fully investigating the regime at the time and its obvious failings; and b) offering unconditional support to victims, it has (in the same week that the latest verdicts were announced):

1) Advertised for a press officer

https://www.jobstoday.co.uk/job/2358586 ... a-officer/

2) Pushed out a puff piece on the deputy head

https://www.tes.com/news/teacher-storie ... ne-fleming

3) Put in (or at least decided to publicise) a rather large planning application

https://www.wscountytimes.co.uk/news/pl ... -1-8557522

and,

4) emailed me a self-congratulatory email on the Blue Fund which landed in my inbox about 2 hours before the verdicts were announced.

Of course, this sudden burst of activity* could just be a coincidence especially considering the absence of a press officer but the school really needs to commit to a full and frank enquiry.

*white noise
These users thanked the author marty for the post:
Scazza (Sun Jul 15, 2018 6:32 pm)
Rating: 5.88%
My therapist says I have a preoccupation with vengeance. We’ll see about that.

bakunin
GE (Great Erasmus)
Posts: 129
Joined: Fri Apr 13, 2018 10:22 am
Real Name: Manch
Location: The westernmost lands
Has thanked: 185 times
Been thanked: 78 times

Re: Husband & Dobbie - VERDICTS

Post by bakunin » Mon Jul 09, 2018 12:45 am

Golfer wrote:
Sat Jul 07, 2018 6:02 pm
It doesn't stick in the throat at all. Anyone in any organisation knows that you report stuff up to management and then it's up to them. They have the power to sack you after all.
Are you a member of the Fleming family or something? You seem awfully defensive.

Or are you just one of those paedo enabler types so common at CH? This is exactly the kind of cowardly behaviour that we do not need. I'm a teacher too, and I would certainly risk my job if I knew a student was being molested. In fact, I'd risk a prison sentence to stop it if it was absolutely necessary.
These users thanked the author bakunin for the post (total 2):
Molesworth 2 (Mon Jul 09, 2018 8:28 pm) • TMF (Tue Sep 04, 2018 4:05 am)
Rating: 11.76%

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

Re: Husband & Dobbie - VERDICTS

Post by yamaha » Mon Jul 09, 2018 7:25 am

3) Put in (or at least decided to publicise) a rather large planning application

https://www.wscountytimes.co.uk/news/pl ... -1-8557522
Yet more expensive building projects that will also be expensive to maintain. They don't appear to be short of cash but it might be prudent to postpone that project until the cost of compensating the victims has been established.

Jim Rayner
LE (Little Erasmus)
Posts: 56
Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2007 9:49 pm
Real Name: Jim Rayner
Has thanked: 51 times
Been thanked: 79 times

Re: Husband & Dobbie - VERDICTS

Post by Jim Rayner » Mon Jul 09, 2018 10:57 am

Jim Rayner wrote:
Sun Jul 08, 2018 11:49 am

I welcome the fact that safeguarding is now taken so much more seriously; of course I do. But for me, at least, telling us about the current regime misses the point. That's why the Headmaster's statement to Old Blues is profoundly unsatisfactory.

Let me explain.

As a result of these court cases and convictions we now know that during the period from 1969 (Burr's earliest admitted offence) until 2001 (Dobbie's last known offence) at least 5 staff members sexually abused pupils.

There is every reason to believe that these were not the only offences that occurred and that they were not confined to this 32 year period. An email to me from Sussex Police earlier this year starts like this:

I am a Detective from Sussex Police and for some time have been investigating allegations of sexual abuse that are reported to have occurred at Christ’s Hospital (1940’s onwards).

Although they haven't said so I think it's reasonable to assume that more offences took place but haven't been prosecuted either because the victims could not face re-living the experience in a courtroom, or contemporaneous evidence is no longer available (after all the school has apparently admitted that nobody knows what happened to some of the records from the Poulton era), or the perpetrators are now dead.

I was in LHA for 3 years between 1967 and 1970 while Webb was a junior housemaster. Webb has admitted that a few years later, and on several occasions, he prowled round the dormitories and molested sleeping boys. Was he doing this in earlier years during the time I was in LHA as well? We don't know, but it's telling that at his first trial he didn't confess to the crimes that he pleaded guilty to in his second.

During my time in LHA there was an event (I'm not going into details, but anyone who was there will know exactly what I mean) which is thrown into a completely different light now we know that Webb and his drinking partner Burr were paedophiles.

It looks like all 5 of these now convicted staff members were eventually rumbled by the school authorities, although the full extent of their crimes may not have been known. But in every case the school was more concerned to protect its own reputation rather than the welfare of children. Staff were allowed to quietly leave, at least one was given a positive reference to take to another school, and victims were advised not to make a fuss. Were others that we don't know about treated in the same way? Probably. I can think of one history teacher (I won't mention his name because as far as I known he's never been convicted, but his nickname was b****r) who suddenly disappeared without explanation in mid-term.

Now we have Friday's statement to Old Blues. https://www.christs-hospital.org.uk/chr ... 202018.pdf

The third paragraph is very curious:
Over the last year or so, we have written to you on a number of occasions to keep you updated on proceedings. The restrictions on what we were able to communicate proved challenging at times: sub judice laws meant that we could only share the facts of each case, rather than the fuller perspective that can be offered now that the trials have concluded.

It promises a 'fuller perspective' but so far as I can see it says no more that we've been told in the previous statements. Basically: these people are beneath contempt, we're very sad this happened, we've taken steps to make sure it can't happen again, and if you have concerns here's how to report them.

What's missing (at least for me) is any acknowledgement that the school itself was at fault for the way it handled cases of sexual abuse over a very long period of time. The school's main concern seems to have been to protect its own reputation at all costs. And that still seems to be priority. Just two weeks ago the school placed an advert for a Press and Social Media Officer https://www.jobstoday.co.uk/job/2358586 ... a-officer/

Required to deliver a Press, PR and content writing service, ensuring the School’s reputation is maintained and enhanced across all media including social and digital platforms.

As somebody else commented, you couldn't make this up.

So yes, I'm reassured that current and future pupils are properly safeguarded. But over a very long period of time boys and girls attending the school were put at risk. We are entitled to know how the school allowed this to happen, why the offenders weren't caught, why they weren't dealt with properly when they were, why creatures like Dobbie were ever recruited and whether the school knows of any other risks we were exposed to that have not come to court.
Can I add to what I wrote yesterday.

It seems to me that if that school wants to re-build, maintain and enhance its reputation it needs to stop with the fluff articles and the clever media management and concentrate on just 3 things

1. Holding a proper inquiry into what went wrong and publishing the results. There are questions to be answered about how some of these people were recruited, why they weren't caught, why warning signs and complaints were ignored and mishandled, why they were allowed to quietly resign, why they were given positive references, whether there are other known cases that have not come to court because the perpetrators are now dead, and why as recently as 3 years ago a complaint was repeatedly ignored.

2. Acknowledging that the school itself got it wrong and contributed to the ordeal the victims have been through. It's all very well the Headmaster regretting that 3 of the offenders chose to plead not guilty and forced the victims to re-live their experiences in court, but what about acknowledging that in at least one case the victim's ordeal was prolonged by the school's repeated failure to deal with her complaint.

3. Showing the school lives up to its mission and principles by making sure the victims have access the best professional advice, counselling and practical support to help them rebuild their lives.

The last of these is going to cost money. So let me suggest how it could be done in a way that could send a powerful message that for CH transforming lives is more important than its proud historical traditions.

The school owns a collection of antique silver http://www.chmuseum.org.uk/authenticate ... _artefacts. It's apparently a significant collection of rare and high quality items dating back to 1490. It's locked up somewhere in London. It contributes nothing to the mission of the school: it produces no income and unlike the school grounds or the picture collection nobody gets to enjoy it. I've no idea how much it is worth. The last accounts show historical assets (pictures, artifacts and silver) at a carrying value of just over £5M, but that's based on a formal valuation carried out in 2000.

In my view the time has come for the school to put its money where its mouth is, seek permission from the Charity Commission to sell this useless hoard, and use the proceeds to provide the very best professional help for those it has so badly failed.
These users thanked the author Jim Rayner for the post (total 6):
GFK (Mon Jul 09, 2018 6:35 pm) • bakunin (Mon Jul 09, 2018 7:09 pm) • Molesworth 2 (Mon Jul 09, 2018 8:30 pm) • Ever Bluer (Tue Jul 10, 2018 12:10 pm) • Scazza (Sun Jul 15, 2018 6:35 pm) • TMF (Tue Sep 04, 2018 4:00 am)
Rating: 35.29%
LHA 67-70; ThA 70-74

Post Reply