Twenty-three claims, but no charges in Durham Chorister School sex abuse probe

The Northern Echo: The Chorister School, Durham The Chorister School, Durham

A POLICE investigation into alleged historic sexual abuse at a leading North-East public school has ended without any criminal charges being made.

Twenty-three former pupils of The Chorister School, linked to Durham Cathedral, told police they had been sexually abused by Canon John Grove, the school’s headmaster from 1957 to 1978, between the late 1950s and mid-1960s.

However, Canon Grove having died in 2001, Durham Police found no evidence to suggest any named person still alive had been responsible for any criminal offence and so the investigation has been closed.

However, lawyers representing some of the victims say the school’s insurers have paid out damages, reported to run into tens of thousands of pounds.

One of the victims, who cannot be named, said: “Whilst what happened to me should never have happened in the first place, I am grateful that the school dealt with the matter relatively quickly and spared me the further ordeal of a court trial.

“It took a lot for me to come forward in the first place but I have no regrets about doing so and am pleased that I may have assisted others in giving them the confidence to do so too.

“The official recognition of what happened to me has been more important to me than the monetary compensation and I am now trying to put this all behind me and move on with my life.”

Jessica Standley, of law firm Slater and Gordon, said: “We are pleased that the school has taken such a responsible attitude and resolved the case promptly.

“This ensures the victims’ suffering is not prolonged.”

Durham Cathedral declined to make any further comment on the case.

Previously, the Very Reverend Michael Sadgrove, the Dean of Durham, said the Church’s first concern in abuse cases was always for the victim and the Church would always apologise for past systems that let down the vulnerable.

Detective Sergeant David Walton, who led the police inquiry, said: “All the allegations concerned someone who died several years ago, which of course means there cannot be any prosecution.

“Our main focus has been to give the victims a chance to unburden themselves and to feel they have been listened to.

“We have also made sure they have access to the appropriate specialist support.”

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