QotD: “Abuse victim accused of ‘grooming’ teacher awarded £1m”

A man sexually abused as a schoolboy has been awarded more than £1m from his teacher’s employer.

Haringey Council’s insurers argued unsuccessfully the assaults by Andrew Adams had caused no long-term trauma.

Despite pleading guilty to criminal charges, Adams argued in a civil case 13-year-old “James” had groomed him.

Haringey said it had “strongly condemned” Adams’s actions, adding the appeal had been brought by its insurers to determine the level of damages.

In 1980, a man raped James.

Scared and confused, he confided in his teacher at Highgate Wood School, in north London.

Adams told him the rape proved he was gay, everyone would hate him but he would be his friend.

And he proceeded to groom and then sexually abuse James for years.

Speaking exclusively to BBC News, in his first interview since the ruling in February, James, who asked not to use his real name, said: “Adams assaulted me in the school changing rooms, the gym and outside of term time in the school’s VW van.

“He was admired, no-one questioned him.”

After school, Adams would take him to the home he shared with his mother and rape him while she was in the house.

Afterwards, Adams would make himself a sandwich and eat it while James watched him, hungry.

Adams also took James to Hampstead Heath and public lavatories and made him watch men having sex.

“His thing was assaulting you in public places and getting away with it,” James said.

“He sexually assaulted me in Regent’s Park mosque.

“And I’m sure it was just for titillation, to get away with it.”

James believes other staff at the school suspected Adams – but no-one investigated.

The teenager became distant from his friends and family.

And the abuse and sexual activity continued until he was 21.

He felt utterly alone with his secret.

And, even though he was successful in the IT industry, James had two breakdowns.

Meanwhile, Adams thrived, becoming deputy head of Highgate Wood and even having a wing of the school named after him.

Eventually, when talking to a psychiatrist, James disclosed the abuse.

He then went to the police.

And in 2014, Adams pleaded guilty to charges of assault and buggery against James.

He was sentenced to 12 years in prison, later reduced to eight years on appeal.

By this point, James was so mentally damaged by the legacy of what had happened he could no longer work.

He sued Adams and Haringey.

But in court Adams said it was James who had groomed him.

And James had to spend two days in the witness box.

“The idea that I, as a 13-year-old pre-pubescent boy, could somehow instigate or groom a 35-year-old teacher – I was shocked,” he said.

“All I could do was deny it.”

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