Man Urges Survivors Of Abuse Not To Suffer In Silence
A man indecently assaulted by a teacher as a child has spoken publicly for the first time about the impact the abuse has had on his life.
Geography teacher Richard Gaines abused his position of trust to indecently assault teenage boys while working at St Martin’s Preparatory School in Northwood, north-west London.
Gaines was jailed for five years and two months in November 2019. The then 74-year-old from Swindon admitted seven counts of gross indecency with a boy under the age of 14 which dated from the 1970s. The charges related to six boys in total.
One of the boys Gaines targeted has now instructed expert lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to help him access the specialist support he requires to try and come to terms with what happened.
Irwin Mitchell has formally notified the school it is representing the man who is now in his 50s and who cannot be named for legal reasons.
Expert Opinion“Once again this is another terrible case in which a person has abused their position of the trust in the worst possible way for their own gratification.
“While the crimes that Gaines carried out may have been many decades ago, the impact of his actions continue to impact upon our client today.
“Now that the criminal case has concluded we are determined to help our client access the specialist support he requires to try and overcome his ordeal.
“It’s also important that others subjected to sexual abuse whether historical or not, report what happened to them and understand there is support out there. Attitudes towards such crimes have thankfully changed and people shouldn’t have to suffer in silence.
“Support is available and people can rest assured that authorities will always handle their cases in the most sensitive manner.” Tom Fletcher - Associate Solicitor
Gaines offered to teach boys sex education lessons and a look at pornographic magazines. He indecently assaulted them, often in a cupboard. He sometimes had more than one boy in a cupboard and encouraged them to perform sex acts, Isleworth Crown Court was told.
The man, who instructed Irwin Mitchell, only decided to reveal what happened to him when the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, led by Professor Alexis Jay OBE, was set up. The man spoke to the Truth Project which offers survivors the chance to share their experiences and is part of the wider Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.
He was approached by police who were already investigating Gaines in connection with alleged offences against other teenagers around the same time. Detectives charged the teacher in relation to the abuse he subjected the man to when he was under 14.
The man said: “It remains incredibly difficult to talk about and the ordeal I’ve been through and the effect it had on me.
“For years I couldn’t bring myself to speak about what happened. Being sexualised by a man robbed me of my innocence. I felt angry and disgusted at what happened. I had issues trusting people and being able to make new friends or form relationships.
“It wasn’t until the Jay inquiry started that I could see a way of offloading what happened to me. I knew the inquiry would pass on details to the police.
“It was only after speaking to the police that the gravity of what Gaines had done started to sink in.
“I just hope that by speaking out others who have been abused feel that they don’t have to go through what happened to them alone.
“Issues like abuse are under the spotlight more than ever and people can be confident that others will listen to their concerns.”
Find out more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in supporting survivors of sexual abuse at our abuse and criminal injury section. Alternatively to speak to an expert contact us or call 0370 1500 100.