Richard White, Paedophile Monk Who Abused Boys At Downside School, Jailed For Five Years

First Posted: 03/01/12 16:56 Updated: 09/01/12 15:54   PA

Richard White
Richard White Has Been Jailed For Five Years

A paedophile monk who abused two boys at a Roman Catholic public school evaded justice for more than two decades after monastic authorities and the parents of one of his victims hushed the matter up, a court heard today.

Richard White, 66, was warned about his behaviour at Downside School after molesting one 12-year-old boy but instead of being reported to police, the Benedictine abbot of the monastery attached to the school simply prevented him from teaching younger students.

He went on to indecently assault a second boy over the course of several months in 1988 and 1989.

White was jailed today for five years after Taunton Crown Court heard that he lured the boy, who was interested in old books, to the monastery library, which was usually off-limits to students. There he sexually touched the boy and forced him to take part in sex acts, paying him 50p per time.

He was discovered after other pupils at the independent Catholic School in Stratton-on-the-Fosse near Bath in Somerset saw the boy had extra money to spend at the tuck shop and he admitted how he had come by it.

But again, when the matter was reported to the monastic school authorities and White himself admitted to the principal what he had done, the police were not told.

Instead the former British Army soldier, who the court heard was repressing his homosexuality at the time, was dismissed from his teaching post and sent to monastic communities across the country over the next 20 years, keeping him away from children.

The court heard that after the News of the World ran an article about the scandal, the boy's own family obtained a court injunction to keep him out of any further reports before removing him from the school.

Despite the publicity no complaint was ever made at the time to the police and White's offending was only brought to light when police investigating another teacher at the school for child pornography offences found a file in school records detailing what he had done and contacted the second victim.

He attended court to see White jailed and afterwards praised the police and his partner for giving him the "confidence" to come forward and said he thought the monk's sentence was "appropriate".

"I'm not the only boy at Downside who was abused," he said.

"I hope this will highlight to the school that it needs to address the risks associated with religious orders running educational establishments without the appropriate safety nets.

"Downside has a poor history of child abuse and the reason for the original statement (to police) was not to convict Richard White but to protect the 1,500 children at Downside School."

White, of Fordingbridge, Hampshire, sat in the dock with his head bowed throughout proceedings.

He admitted five charges of indecent assault and two of gross indecency with a child, relating to the second boy, at a previous hearing last November and asked for four offences against the first boy, who has never made a complaint to police, to be taken into account.

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Filed by Lucy Sherriff  |