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Sexual Offences

The Sexual Offences Act 2003 updated the law, much of which dated back to 1956.

The main provisions of the Act include the following:

  • Rape is widened to include oral penetration
  • Significant changes to the issue of consent
  • Specific offences relating to children under 13, 16 and 18
  • Offences to protect vulnerable persons with a mental disorder
  • Other miscellaneous offences
  • Strengthening the notification requirements and providing new civil preventative orders

Find out more about how we prosecute sexual offences

Former teacher at boys' school convicted of indecent assaults


A former master at a prestigious private school has been found guilty of indecently assaulting pupils he taught, over more than a decade.

Patrick Marshall, 68, (d.o.b. 02/08/1948) was found guilty of 24 counts of indecent assault and one count of indecency with a child, involving 10 victims, at both St Paul's School in central London in the 1970s and Windsor Boys' School, where he had taught before moving to St Paul's. He is due to be sentenced at Southwark Crown Court this afternoon.

He is the third person to be convicted as a result of Operation Winthorpe - which has investigated accusations of historical sexual abuse made by former pupils against teachers of St Paul's School.

Former teacher Michael Ellis, 71, (d.o.b. 26/11/1945), was found guilty at Southwark Crown Court in July 2016 of two counts of indecent assault against two boys, and admitted four counts of possessing indecent images of children. He received a total of eight years' imprisonment.

David Sansom, 72, (d.o.b. 27/01/1945), was found guilty in November 2016 of abusing four children, one of whom was a pupil at St Paul's School, and was sentenced to a total of 14 years and nine months' imprisonment after a trial at Southwark Crown Court.

Samuel Main, reviewing lawyer at CPS London, said: "We hope the conviction of Patrick Marshall today, along with the convictions of two other former St Paul's teachers, will bring some sense of justice and closure for their many victims.

"These men groomed and abused vulnerable boys using their status as teachers, in Marshall's case befriending their families before going on to abuse their sons and their trust.

"In Marshall's trial the court heard the testimony of parents who had to come to terms with the horrific realisation their sons had been abused, and the evidence of the victims themselves, each forced to relive their experiences in court by his refusal to admit the truth.

"Ellis, too, had befriended the family of one of his intended victims before the abuse occurred, while Sansom's abuse included an offence in a changing room at St Paul's School and a classroom at another school in the 1970s and 1980s.

"Each of the victims has shown great bravery in coming forward. But for their courage, it would not have been possible to bring these prosecutions."


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