Date of sentencing of Webb and Burr

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Re: Date of sentencing of Webb and Burr

Post by Mid A 15 » Fri Feb 09, 2018 11:27 am

Chrissie Boy wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2018 8:52 am
My query is to do with a point of law, rather than to do with Messrs. Burr & Webb. But self-evidently my query relates to a type of offence somewhat different from theirs, which is why I've chosen my words so carefully.
My apologies for misunderstanding your point.

I wrongly interpreted it as specific to the cases in hand, given that the adequacy or otherwise of the sentences imposed had been discussed higher up the thread, rather than a general observation and query.
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Re: Date of sentencing of Webb and Burr

Post by rockfreak » Fri Feb 09, 2018 8:47 pm

One of the things that I remember from the 50s was just how long this kind of groping stuff went on without anyone reporting it - to parents or the authorities. One instance that I remember was in the Prep house (not massively serious but still attempts at mild groping) and that had been going on for some time before an 11-year-old told his mother who promptly went to the authorities. Then in an upper house where Grecians of 18 knew that this had been going on for some time but did nothing apart from trying to set traps for the offending master so that metal lav-end mugs fell off the handles to the emergency stairs with a great clatter when he crept in pissed at night and woke everyone up. As far as I can recall it was all considered a bit of a laugh - perhaps we expected boarding school masters to be a bit weird (and indeed we were often right). But again, it was a 13-year-old friend of mine who complained to his mother and within days the master concerned was gone. Is it boarding schools where this kind of thing is tolerated? Youngsters away from home? No-one wants to rock the boat?

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Re: Date of sentencing of Webb and Burr

Post by Chrissie Boy » Sat Feb 10, 2018 5:29 pm

In my day, the idea of reporting a member of staff would've seemed pretty daunting, because it could so obviously have backfired very easily indeed. We'd have been worried about getting into trouble ourselves if the staff-member, having been confronted by the headmaster, had flatly denied everything and the authorities had consequently decided that we must be liars. I remember three occasions in my time at the school when I was punished in spite of having done nothing wrong; I didn't speak out because I suspected that the staff would stick together and that the monitor who punished me on one of those occasions would have hated me and victimised me thenceforth if I'd reported him. Better to do the punishment than stir up a hornets' nest. But I do remember that in around 1976 two lads from one of the junior houses reported their housemaster to the headmaster for seriously inappropriate long-term behaviour and received a very fair hearing indeed. The housemaster was cautioned and was very obviously put on a final warning. All his homo-erotic tomfoolery ceased forthwith. Mind you, these days he'd have been suspended pronto and a serious enquiry would've ensued. Probably he would've been jailed and put on the register.

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Re: Date of sentencing of Webb and Burr

Post by sejintenej » Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:20 pm

Chrissie Boy wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 5:29 pm
In my day, the idea of reporting a member of staff would've seemed pretty daunting, because it could so obviously have backfired very easily indeed. We'd have been worried about getting into trouble ourselves if the staff-member, having been confronted by the headmaster, had flatly denied everything and the authorities had consequently decided that we must be liars.
I also got caned or slippered on lies spread by a monitor. Good thing the so-and-so is in New Zealand for his sake

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Re: Date of sentencing of Webb and Burr

Post by rockfreak » Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:07 pm

Chrissie Boy makes some interesting points about master/pupil relations and bragging rights in terms of sexual experience. In his diaries Evelyn Waugh records a liaison which was uncovered at his boarding school and observes that the reputation of the pupil concerned would not have stood any scrutiny but everyone was a bit surprised at the master. And I've just finished reading Alan Bennett's excellent Keeping On, Keeping On where he records his affection for his sadly deceased agent Ros Chatto at age ninety. When they were first rehearsing History Boys there was some doubt about that scene where a sixth form boy, recognising that a master is gay, invites him to give him a blow job. Some actors said that they thought this was unlikely. "Nonsense!" said Chatto. "I seduced the art master at sixteen."

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Re: Date of sentencing of Webb and Burr

Post by michael scuffil » Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:26 pm

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. By far the most widespread form of sexual abuse in the old days was perfectly legal and not recognized for what it was by most people, namely corporal punishment. And we know who the guilty ones were.

While I can only put a name to three masters who were removed (while I was there) for physical sexual abuse (of the standard type), I'm sure that a fair proportion of the staff were paedophiles. Some got their kicks by wandering into changing rooms 'to discuss the match'. Others just enjoyed the company of the young. Personally I think this is harmless and such people may even make the best teachers. Baden-Powell was undoubtedly a paedophile but is generally reckoned to have performed an enormous service for countless young people (though whether he intended the double entendre of 'Scouting for Boys' is a moot point).
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Re: Date of sentencing of Webb and Burr

Post by Kit Bartlett » Wed Feb 14, 2018 11:47 am

It is fair to say that the various peccadilloes of masters in far off times were just never reported to either parents or other school sources.
Several incidents have been mentioned by Old Blues in autobiographies which in today's climate would be considered completely unacceptable.
If and when a master was found to have transgressed he simply left the staff immediately and his departure or name was never mentioned in print in The Blue or anywhere else again until he died. I recall that the official line concerning one senior Housemaster who had been on the staff for over twenty years was that he had suffered a "nervous breakdown"

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Re: Date of sentencing of Webb and Burr

Post by rockfreak » Wed Feb 14, 2018 8:35 pm

On one occasion that I know of the activities certainly were notified to the parents by letter. This was in the Seaman era. I wonder if these antics are described as peccadilloes because they so often seem to involve someone's pecker? Sexual abuse seems to be, er, popping up everywhere these days. Or perhaps just the greater confidence in reporting it. Boarding schools, showbiz, Westminster, big business. Where next? Perhaps the architecture industry will be next and Walter Gropius will be found to be an offender, if only a minimalist one. I'd never heard of historic abuse until a few years ago and I imagined that it referred to William the Conquerer trying to touch up the castle chambermaid.

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Re: Date of sentencing of Webb and Burr

Post by J.R. » Sat Feb 17, 2018 12:57 pm

Just caught up on this thread after 10 days in hospital undergoing stroke scans/tests etc. (Thankfully, clear), but a deep MRI has reulted in the discovery of severe oesteo-athritis in lower spine, neck and hips, but I digress...

I can only repeat what I have said before... I cannot recall ANY incidences of master/pupil relationships in my five and a half years at CH.

The Operation Yew Tree saga, (Saville, Harris and Co), has made if far more acceptable to speak out these days without fear.
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Re: Date of sentencing of Webb and Burr

Post by rockfreak » Sat Feb 17, 2018 8:26 pm

That sounds a bit cryptic John. Hope things aren't going to be too bad.

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Re: Date of sentencing of Webb and Burr

Post by peter2095 » Sun Feb 18, 2018 7:55 pm

Interesting article in the Sunday Times. Seems to be a huge issue across the country.

“New figures from 24 police forces released today show that, since 2012, 425 people have been accused of carrying out sexual attacks at UK boarding schools and at least 160 people have been charged to date.

More than 170 people were accused of historical abuse and 125 have been accused by children of recent attacks. A total of 31 investigations by police are under way.”

“The independent inquiry into child sexual abuse is expected to look at boarding schools later this year.”
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Re: Date of sentencing of Webb and Burr

Post by time please » Mon Feb 19, 2018 9:06 am

I strongly object to the word peccadilloes being used to explain away a crime otherwise known as sexual abuse. Likewise to JR there is no such thing as master/pupil relationships in the sense that it was once again sexual abuse and nothing else.

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Re: Date of sentencing of Webb and Burr

Post by Chrissie Boy » Mon Feb 19, 2018 12:46 pm

I've now begun wondering what the Law says about historical sex offences which were perpetrated by a minor against another minor, albeit more than forty years ago. I understand that the Law considers that anyone over the age of ten is responsible for his or her own actions, so where does that leave a middle-aged adult who, when in their earlier teens, interfered with another young person? Can their victim see them prosecuted successfully all these years later? Or is the whole thing written off by the Law as having merely been silly teenage horseplay?

I ask because I can remember a Junior who, when in the LE, 'experimented' sexually on a lad in the year below him - and the younger lad absolutely hated him forever for having done it to him. The experimenter was allowed to stay on at the school as long as he never misbehaved again. A year later though, another boy in a different house was expelled for a similar misdemeanour. Worse still, there were two Seniors who supposedly (and I firmly believe it to be true) came to an arrangement with a Junior whereby the Junior regularly allowed them to interfere with him for 5p a go.

Could all the victims, paid or otherwise, go to the police today and see their abusers successfully prosecuted? Or are the abusers in some sense exempt from prosecution because they were only teenagers at the time and weren't in a position of trust (and anyway everyone does silly things in their teens)?

(JR: Sorry to hear that you're disintegrating. No more marathon-running for you, then? And how about the skeleton bob?)

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Re: Date of sentencing of Webb and Burr

Post by blueeyedboy » Mon Feb 19, 2018 5:14 pm

I suddenly remembered over the weekend that Burr called the woodburning stove in his narrow boat 'The Very Sod' - as in Good King Wenceslas, 'Heat was in the' etc. etc.

Now THAT is a double entendre, good and proper.

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Re: Date of sentencing of Webb and Burr

Post by rockfreak » Tue Feb 20, 2018 6:25 pm

Last night's ITV documentary by Alex Renton showed up the reluctance of the boarding school authorities and bodies like the Independent Schools Couuncil to allow these scandals to spread too widely. Offenders were allowed to quietly leave and in some cases were still given references for jobs at other schools. Renton's old prep school Ashdown House was also the alma mater of the young Viscount Linley and I seem to remember a picture of him being presented by Princess Margaret to the towering, beetle-browed headmaster Billy Williamson and looking somewhat overawed. He had reason to be because Renton has portrayed Williamson as a gleeful sadist and Linley himself was apparently not impressed. Michael Scuffil has pointed up the equal amount of beating and verbal abuse that happened at these places, some of which I remember from my time. What is it about the British class system that the well-off will happily consign their children to these places in order to have them join "the establishment"?

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