My Old School has finally had a scandal. Not from the decades when bachelor housemasters ruled the school , and ran it for their convenience and sometimes their pleasure. All that ended in the late 1960s. From the eighties comes this sad tale.
A ten year old boy was tricked into taking off his clothes and going into broom cupboard. When inside the music teacher molested and took pictures of him and this putrid event took place at least ten times. Of course the boy didn’t know what was happening and he didn’t dare tell. His parents were so oblivious to the fact that they happily sent his sister to the same school.
Now forty , with an eight year old daughter and a property developer in Australia, the young boy now a man made his complaint to the school three years ago.. This week the ex school master ,he retired ten years ago, went down for five years.
Now these cases are depressingly common and one of the facts of interest is, why having reached adult hood with a family and career does the victim want to open the scar. After all we all have scars, dear friends of mine have lost children, many have unsatisfactory childhoods, few were entirely happy at school, broken marriages and homes are normal, careers rarely reach fulfilment, we all have had love lost. But we move on, the scar may occasionally be knocked and smart but on the whole we learn how to protect the tender spot.
The victim gives as a first reason, the success of the school. His experience was traumatic so he says,”when I saw how many pastoral awards the school has won, it made me angry”. He then says from his Australian home that now he has a young daughter he wanted his day in court so this kind of thing wouldn’t happen to her. It may be that one of the reasons he emigrated was to start a new life away from the stain of his childhood.
Now property developer covers a wide area of business s life. Doing up attics to owning major property portfolios. The victim obviously feels that his scar has acted as a brake on his life. He says, “It(the crime) always stopped me from trying to do well, I never wanted to stand out and that takes a long time to overcome”. Well, by stepping forward and having his picture in the press he seems to have got over that one. There is no mention of a wife, has there been a disappointing divorce which has compounded his anger, made the scar even more itchy?
Either way given the sordid corruption of the meaning of Justice, once so fair and brave, one feels a claim for compensation lurks. No doubt the school is insured but to pay for the sins of thirty years ago will not be easy.
The need for revenge is a natural if not a particularly Christian emotion. Seeing the institution and the man who caused so much pain, seemingly, bask in the sun while you fester in some mediocrity hurts. And so speaking outside the court the victim declares,”I don’t know whether I have truly come to terms with what happened but at least I have justice.”
Pure Old Testament stuff, Justice is Mine sayeth the Victim. The sad man who obviously has, or maybe did have a problem with little boys, now will spend at least three years in prison. Proverbs declares, “When Justice is done it is a joy to the righteous but terror to the evil doers.”
The evil doer in turn will now bear scars which may never heal. The convicted paedophile has four children and his wife pathetically whimpers “What will I tell the children”. It is unlikely the marriage will survive, it is her second,the children will suffer and a new cycle of tears will begin. As Larkin said, “Man hands on misery to man”.
And so a vengeance saga almost written in Albanian blood is enacted. The monster destroys the boy, the boy becomes the man who destroys the monster and hurts his children. They in turn grow up…
Meanwhile there is always that Agatha Christie moment when the neighbours meet and talk. One said of the convicted man, “He was an outstanding member of our village, such a good and quiet gentleman” They always are.