Ex-Wellington College teacher denies sexually abusing pupilsBy Becky Barnes
June 28, 2012
A maths teacher at a prestigious Crowthorne school is standing trial this week accused of abusing boys as young as eight.
Bruce Roth, 46, is charged with four counts of indecent assault on a male under 16, four counts of sexual activity with a child, three counts of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and six counts of sexual activity with a child by a person in a position of trust.
At Reading Crown Court yesterday, a jury heard how Roth had been a housemaster at Wellington College, Crowthorne, and King’s School, Rochester, over a period of 22 years.
During that time it is alleged that he abused five boys between the ages of eight and 15.
Daniel Fugallo, prosecuting, told the court: “He abused his position of trust as a teacher by touching five boys in his care for his own sexual gratification.”
Mr Fugallo said the alleged victims, now all in their late teens, 20s and 30s, were not friends at school and had not become friends since, but there were “striking similarities” in their claims.
Roth was arrested in October 2010 after one of the alleged victims called Childline and then spoke to a counsellor who informed the police.
When Roth was arrested, police seized a laptop that on forensic examination had images and video search terms relating to an interest in young homosexual males including “pre-teen”.
The court heard that Roth denied any interest in boys or males to police and claimed the laptop must have been accessed by students.
However, the court heard how the forensic examination showed this activity sometimes happened in the middle of the night and during school holidays.
The court heard Mr Fugallo say that Roth claimed during police interview he had never faced any allegations of this kind before.
Mr Fugallo said Roth failed to tell police about a previous investigation at King’s College, Rochester, when he was suspended after the family member of an alleged victim complained about inappropriate touching.
Roth was reinstated as a teacher when the headmaster decided it was the boy’s word against Roth’s.
The court heard how as a result of the publicity surrounding the first arrest, four other alleged victims came forward.
Roth was said to be “baffled” and “flabbergasted” by the allegations.
In a statement to police he said: “I can only assume they have met up at some old boy’s day and decided that, in light of the newspapers, that they would make something up.”
Mr Fugallo pointed out the boys were in different years, did not know one another and some were from schools in different counties.
The jury watched a video of one of the alleged victim’s police interview when he first came forward with the allegations.
The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, claimed that when he was 13 or 14, he was “frequently” touched by Roth over a period of nine months.
The claimant described a “progression” throughout the year and said sometimes the abuse happened “in upwards of three times a week”.
Roth denies the charges. The trial continues.