Craig Edward Johnson, the Yehudi Menuhin School, Adrian Stark, and wider networks?

There are various stories concerning convictions of music teachers which I plan soon to add to my long post on reported cases of abuse in music education from 1990 to 2012. But in the meantime, I wanted to draw attention to one in particular.

In 1998, Craig Edward Johnson, a housemaster at the Yehudi Menuhin School (who had worked at the school for 11 years), was sentenced to 120 hours community service and ordered to pay towards court costs (just £60) after being convicted at Redhill Magistrates’ Court possession of indecent images of children. He immediately resigned his position at the Menuhin School and had to register with his local police in Brighton as a paedophile. Anonymous letters had been sent to both the headmaster of the Menuhin School and Leatherhead police, accusing Mr Johnson of being homosexual with a predilection for young males, and calling it a scandal that he was teaching at the school (see ‘Housemaster kept indecent photographs of young boys’, GetSurrey, January 23rd, 1998).

In August of the previous year, however, Adrian Stark, director of music at St John’s School, Leatherhead, Surrey had been found dead off Beachy Head, after three public schools had been raided by Scotland Yard detectives investigating a paedophile ring. Police, who had seized address books belonging to Stark, which led them in the direction of a wider paedophile network across a range of public schools, culminating in 15 raids involving eight police forces. At was at this time that a teacher at the Menuhin School (presumably Johnson) was charged with child pornography offences (‘Public school teacher facing child pornography charges’, The Guardian, August 2nd, 1997; Peter Hetherington, Duncan Campbell, Rebecca Smithers and David Brindle, ‘Suicide pointed police to new schools’, The Guardian, November 21st, 1997).

The pattern of anonymous letters sent to the Head of the Menuhin School was repeated at various other schools across the country. Someone was aware of a variety of teachers in this respect. In 1996, video tapes were seized from the premises belonging to director of music Philip Cartledge at Harrow School, though Cartledge was not arrested or charged (Gary Jones, ‘Sex Cops seize Videos at Top School’, News of the World, May 12th, 1996). In 1997, a nationwide investigation, Operation Fledgling, was launched after a former teacher at Abberley Hall in Worcestershire allegedly told a colleague that he was part of a paedophile network, saying he had had sex with ‘hundreds and hundreds of boys’ and naming teachers at sex other establishments. The operation, which lasted a year, targeted what were described as known ‘homosexual paedophiles’ at Eton and Wellington College, Berkshire, Harrow, Hurstpierpoint and elsewhere; by 2000, major investigations were still going on at Eton in particular (‘Eton targeted in paedophile inquiry at top public schools’, The Sunday Times, August 8th, 2000). Earlier this year, an article by Andrew Norfolk in the times drew attention to a whole 130 private schools at which teachers had been implicated in sexual crimes, with hundreds of children having been victims (Andrew Norfolk, ‘130 private schools in child abuse scandal’, The Times, January 20th, 2014).

Were there are links between wider paedophile networks operative at private schools, and specialist music schools including the Menuhin School? This subject needs further investigation.

With great thanks to Eileen Fairweather for pointing me in the direction of the material on Johnson.

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New revelations on Alan Doggett, and Colin Ward’s 1981 article on Doggett and Tom O’Carroll

Following my article from earlier this month on conductor, Colet Court director of music, director of London Boy Singers, Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice collaborator and Paedophile Information Exchange member Alan Doggett (1936-1978) three articles appeared in today’s Times by Andrew Norfolk, giving testimonies and details of how Doggett abused boys as well as information on five or six other abusers at Colet Court and St Paul’s School (for which Colet Court was the prep school). These are Andrew Norfolk, ‘Teachers ‘abused boys at Osborne’s old school”, ”The teacher sat us on his lap until his face went very red”, and ‘Friends to stars had easy access to boys’, all The Times, March 25th, 2014; and can be accessed via the links given at the excellent Spotlight blog.

Norfolk’s report adds to my own blog post through the testimony of ‘Luke Redmond’ (not his real name) who had been sexually assaulted by three different men at Colet Court School by the time he reached the age of 12. These are Doggett, the dorm monitor Paul Topham, who went on to become an Anglican priest, and was questioned under caution by police in 2000, though no charges were brought before his death in 2012, and a housemaster known as ‘Alex’ Alexander, who took pleasure in punishing boys in a sexualised fashion before taking them on his lap and giving them sweets and physical affection. On Doggett, the final printed version of the article says the following (not all included in the link above):

Luke’s abuse by Alan Doggett, Colet Court’s director of music, was a once-only indecent assault during the boy’s compulsory audition for the choir. [From earlier version of article: Doggett’s auditions of boarders were always when pupils were dressed for bed. Luke stood by the piano. As he sang, Doggett’s hand explored beneath the waistband of his pyjamas.]

A far worse fate awaited another boy in his dormitory, a year younger than Luke, who was angelic in both voice and looks. He was Doggett’s chosen one, summoned far too often from their dormitory to spend long hours at night in the choirmaster’s bedroom.

A year later, another boy cried foul and Doggett was forced to resign, though his crimes are understood to have gone unreported by St Paul’s. As a result, it was a decade before he finally appeared in court, charged with offences against a 10-year-old choirboy, born in the year the teacher left Colet Court. (Norfolk, ”The teacher sat us on his lap until his face went very red”).

It has been suggested that Doggett’s treatment of Luke was common with many boys who he auditioned. Norfolk also details in concise form the information contained on my earlier blog post: Doggett’s teaching first at Westminster School (where he taught Julian Lloyd Webber) then Colet Court from 1963 to 1968, his commissioning of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat from Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, which was first performed at Colet Court during Doggett’s final months there, his dismissal from the school, then work at City of London School, continued association with Lloyd Webber and Rice, conducting the first recording of Jesus Christ Superstar, then directorship of the London Boy Singers, with whom he worked for the album of Evita, as well as Doggett’s suicide in 1978, just before being about to conduct a massed choir of 1000 school boys, after he was charged with the offences against a 10-year-old choirboy. He also mentions the tributes to Doggett by leading Paedophile Information Exchange figures Paul Andrews and Michael Ingram, and Doggett’s own PIE membership.

That Doggett worked with over 1000 young boys after his dismissal from Colet Court, not to mention his PIE membership and links to other major abusers, raises sinister possibilities – that there could have been widespread abuse of Savile-like proportions. Once again, I would ask anyone with further information to come forward if they feel able to.

As well as the three teachers mentioned by Luke, Norfolk lists three other alleged abusive teachers at Colet Court/St Paul’s; two of them unnamed, the other geography teacher and rowing coach Patrick Marshall, who was questioned as part of a police inquiry into abuse of a 15-year-old boy in 1979-1980. Elsewhere, Norfolk’s scrupulous investigations have drawn attention to how teachers at 130 independent schools in the UK have been implicated in sexual crimes against hundreds of boys, including 64 where at least one male teacher has been convicted of sexually abusing boys, and a further 30 where a member of staff has been sentenced for possession of images of child abuse. These include the likes of Eton, Marlborough, Millfield, Oundle, Tonbridge, Downside School, Somerset, Haderdashers’ Aske’s, Ampleforth, Wellington College, King Edward’s School Birmingham and The Oratory School, Reading. A comment by the Independent Schools Council referred just to the ‘abuse of trust by a small number of predatory individuals’ and wanting to point out that ‘these cases are largely historic’ (Andrew Norfolk, ‘130 private schools in child abuse scandal’, The Times, January 20th, 2014). A report from 1996 in the Sunday Times spoke of Scotland Yard investigating a possible paedophile ring involving public schools, in which context the names of leading PIE members Peter Righton and Charles Napier were mentioned (Stephen Grey, ‘Police investigate public school paedophile ring’, The Sunday Times, August 25th, 1996), leading to a range of raids the following month, including at Harrow School (Eileen Fairweather, ‘Paedophile ring alleged at top public schools’, Evening Standard, September 19th, 1996). A range of public schools were raided in 1997 as part of an investigation into a suspected child pornography ring (Jason Benetto, ‘Public schools raided in child porn inquiry’, The Independent, November 22nd, 1997). The enquiry, named Operation Fledgling, was later revealed to have targetted in particular Eton College, as well as various of the other schools listed above (‘Eton targeted in paedophile inquiry at top public schools’, The Sunday Times, August 6th, 2000). Furthermore, the suicide in 1997 of Adrian Stark, director of music at Leatherhead School, Surrey alerted police to activities at other schools, with raids on independent schools in Durham and Sedbergh in Cumbria, at the same time as a report by Sir William Utling drew attention to the particular dangers faced by children living away from home (Peter Hetherington, Duncan Campbell, Rebecca Smithers and David Brindle, ‘Suicide pointed police to top schools’, The Guardian, November 22nd, 1997).

Whilst Operation Fledgling was abandoned in 1998, there is clearly much more remaining to investigate about vast numbers of allegations into widespread abuse as a common occurrence at Britain’s most prestigious public schools, and more widely about the brutalising and exploitative hierarchical culture of such institutions, by which the values of dog-eat-dog and survival of the fittest may have been passed down from generation to generation.

In my last post, I quoted extensively from the article by Colin Ward, author of The Child and the City (London: Architectural Press, 1978), in New Society which linked Doggett and Tom O’Carroll (Ward, ‘The saving grace of worldiness’, New Society, July 9th, 1981), and served as an apologia for paedophilia. I reproduce the article below, together with a response which appeared a few weeks later (Ken Smith, ‘Paedophiles’, New Society, July 23rd, 1981).

Ward article 1

Ward article 2

Response to Ward 1

Response to Ward 2