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HomeNewsKent Boarding School Sued Over Historical Child Abuse

Kent Boarding School Sued Over Historical Child Abuse

A prestigious boarding school in Kent is being sued by a former pupil over historical child sexual abuse claims.

The Reverend David Barnes allegedly raped the boy at Sutton Valence School, Kent, in the 1980s. The ex-pupil says the chaplain invited him to his home on the school grounds when he was 13. Rev Barnes was chaplain from 1975 to 1986.

Sutton Valence, near Maidstone, which charges up to £7,740 a term in tuition fees, is treating the allegations with the ‘utmost seriousness’ and has notified the police and Charity Commission.

The man claims that the churchman – who died in 2012 aged 75 – gave him gin and cigarettes and they watched Top of the Pops on TV. The Rev Barnes then allegedly groped him and raped him.

Afterwards, the ex-pupil said the chaplain took a photo of him with a Polaroid camera and put it in a shoebox which he alleged contained pictures of other boys. He thinks teachers “knew exactly what was going on” but were too scared to come forward.

Now in his fifties, the man said “It has ruined every part of my life – there is not a day that goes by where it doesn’t break your self esteem. You hate yourself because you feel you should have spoken out at the time but were unable to.”

WE HAVE made clear our commitment to supporting the legal process

The dad of three said he had been forced to spend over £20,000 on therapy to try to overcome the trauma, saying “I’m lucky I can do that, there are many people that don’t have that possibility. This is where we have to make sure the right tools are in place to report, and the right lights are shone in the darkest corners to ensure these people are exposed.”

The school said “Last December we received a legal claim from a former pupil’s lawyers regarding allegations of abuse from the early 1980s.

Last May, its former chemistry teacher, Dr Mohammed Afzal, 67, was jailed for three years for sexually assaulting a girl pupil in 1993.

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