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Victims of ‘fixated paedophile’ headmaster bravely discuss appalling abuse

Former schoolboys who were abused by a headteacher have relived their horrifying experiences.

The group were preyed on by Robin Lindsay at Sherborne Prep School in Somerset.

Separated from family and living with strangers, the boys struggled to understand what their all-powerful "untouchable" headmaster was doing to them, Somerset Live reports.

Lindsay, who died in 2016, was barred from teaching after a tribunal by the Department for Education in 1998.

But he never faced police charges.

Lindsay was banned from teaching and branded a "fixated paedophile" who posed a serious risk to children by the DfE.

One survivor said: "I didn’t have the language to describe it, but I knew what he was doing was sexual and wrong."

Some four decades on, the memories are still vivid and painful.

Three survivors shared their experience with journalist Alex Renton for ITV Exposure: The Secret Shame – you can watch them in the video above.

One survivor has spoken at length to Somerset Live, giving a harrowing account of sadistic beating and sexualised touching by Lindsay in the 1970s.

He did not want to be named as the burden of expressing his experiences in full public glare is still too much.

But, like other survivors, he is determined there is a full account of up to three decades of abuse – and what happened when Robin Lindsay was removed from the school.

Referred to in this story as survivor F, he described two kinds of abuse in the dormitories at Sherborne Prep School: sexualised spankings or beatings, and back rubs.

The survivor’s story

Some readers may find the following descriptions upsetting.

"It started when I was ten," he said.

"I was made dorm prefect. I was isolated from my peer group.

"I was put with younger pupils.

"He (Robin Lindsay) would prowl around at night. At about 10 or 11 at night. That was when he would visit me.

"He would abuse me in a dorm with other children sleeping. He would stand in the middle of the room looking around to see that everyone was asleep.

"If I wasn’t awake he would wake me. He would rub my back and masturbate over me. Tell me not to look.

"I knew what he was doing. I could hear him. He was like a Jekyll and Hyde character.

"There were also late night spankings. Highly sexualised spankings – when I’d have to go down to his study and wait until he came downstairs. Those were very private and very isolating incidents.

"He would smoke panatella cigars. You could smell him coming.

"He would pull down your pyjama bottoms. He sometimes had his hand down his trousers.

"He would beat you with a Moroccan slipper.

"I was ten. I didn’t know what was going on. It happened about 20 times. Three or four times a term over two years.

"He was interested in children from the age of ten and would watch boys in the showers.

"I spoke to adults about it at the time. He was widely termed a pervert or a paedo. I had never heard those words.

"There were good people trying to get us to open up and talk about it.

"I was too embarrassed to talk about it at the time.

"He got away with it for three decades. He abused easily a dozen, possibly many more.

"I think he did immense damage. I think he was a prolific offender for three decades."

‘Open secret’

Four decades on from the abuse, survivors are determined that Lindsay’s ability to "get away with it" is scrutinised.

ITV’s Exposure documentary alleged Lindsay’s involvement with the Independent Association of Prep Schools at the highest level.

As a body watching over boarding schools and pupil welfare, Lindsay’s position on its board may have helped him suppress action on his own wrongdoing.

It is just one way that Lindsay may have used a web of influence to get away with abuse for up to three decades.

Survivor F acknowledges that attitudes to abuse and the culture of safeguarding were vastly different in the past.

But he describes Lindsay’s abuse as "an open secret" and remains frustrated that it continued regardless.

"He was talked about openly as a pervert," he said.

"There were some parents who were trying to get us to talk about it."

"They knew what was going on. That was the first time I heard the word paedophile."

"He was untouchable," said survivor F.

"One of the things people need to understand is the school had a lot of property. Staff had homes, they were in tied accommodation.

"They were frightened, they were in fear of their livelihood. I am pretty sure that most of the town knew."

He said that after leaving Sherborne Prep, two teachers at another school asked him ‘is it true what we hear about the headmaster?’

"My impression was that it was widely known.

"It was an open secret in the school.

"It was an open secret in the town."

Finding help

If you or someone you know is a survivor of abuse or violence, help is available from the following organisations:

National Association of People Abused in Childhood: 0808 801 0331.

The Survivors Trust: 01788 550554

Victim Support or call 08081689111

NSPCC general helpline or call 0808 800 5000 or email .

Childline is for young people who are experiencing abuse. You can call them on 0800 1111.

Mind on 0300 123 3393


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