Former teacher behind bars after child abuse

Jonathan O'Brien
Jonathan O'Brien
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A SEX offender who taught at two public schools has been jailed for 13 years after abusing pupils.

Jonathan O’Brien was sentenced at Chichester Crown Court after being convicted of 15 counts of indecent assault.

Passing sentence, His Honour Judge Richard Fraser highlighted the suffering recounted by victims.

He said: ‘The sentiments expressed reflect the evidence that each of them gave in court – a number of them unable to hold back tears as they were forced to relive your abuse.

‘It was abundantly clear from the understandably emotional evidence they gave during your trial that your actions have left a very dark shadow which each them has had to find ways to deal with.’

The offences were committed against six boys at Winterfold House, near Kidderminster, Worcestershire, between 1980 and 1985, and against three pupils at The Oratory School, near Reading, between 1985 and 1989.

O’Brien, who taught PE and photography, had denied all the charges but was found guilty after a four-week trial.

The 56-year-old was placed on the Sex Offenders Register for life and also made the subject of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order, prohibiting contact with children when he is released.

The trial heard the offences involved pupils who were boarding at both schools and some had taken place at O’Brien’s private home in Oxfordshire.

Detective Sergeant Steve Cook, who led the investigation, said: ‘O’Brien engaged in the systematic abuse of boys over a long period of time.

‘In doing so he also disgracefully abused the position of trust he was in and that was particularly relevant in this case as he was teaching in boarding schools where the children were away from their families and had nowhere else to go.

‘He exploited their vulnerability and they did not feel at that time that they could come forward because “it wasn’t the thing to do” and that they wouldn’t be believed.

‘Now they are extremely relieved that this has come out into the open.

‘O’Brien, of Fairfield Road, Bosham, refused to comment when we questioned him about these matters despite the growing weight of the evidence against him.’