Former teacher jailed for sexually abusing boarders

20/05/2014

A school teacher who abused former students at two private boarding schools in Kidderminster and Reading in the 1980s has today been jailed to 13 years after he was found guilty at Chichester Crown Court of sexually assaulting the pupils.

Jonathan O'Brien aged 55, was a teacher at Winterfold House in Kidderminster between 1982 and 1986 and the Oratory School in Reading between 1986 and 1989.

During these periods of employment at both schools he sexually abused 11 boys between the ages of 10 and 16.

The assaults would take place on the school premises as well as at the defendant's home.

Following a complaint by one of the former students in 2012, police launched an investigation into the historical sexual abuse allegations and a number of ex-pupils were interviewed.

The defendant was subsequently arrested and on 17 December 2013, he was found guilty of 15 counts of indecent assault on a male person and five counts of gross indecency.

James Gormley, Senior Crown Prosecutor from the West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service's Public Protection Unit, said:

"Jonathan O'Brien is a very dangerous sexual predator who ruthlessly pursed his victims for his own sexual gratifications.

"Parents had entrusted him with their young children, who were boarders and hundreds of miles away from their families and friends. O'Brien in turn breached this trust and he began to prey on the former pupils.

"Knowing what he was doing was illegal, he continued to groom and form improper relationships with the boys, whom he would later sexually abuse.

"Over a seven year period in the 1980s, he abused 11 boys at two private boarding schools and it was only after one of the victims reported the abuse committed by O'Brien was the defendant arrested, charged and today, over three decades from when he started committing his offences, he has been finally brought to justice.

"We understand how traumatic this experience must have been for the victims, four of whom travelled from overseas to give evidence, so I would like to pay tribute to their courage and thank them for their assistance with this prosecution case."