Alleged victim claims he was touched by teacher Bruce RothBy Becky Barnes
July 04, 2012
A man claimed his teacher touched him and made him run around in his underwear in the dark when he was a child, a court heard.
Speaking at ex-Wellington College housemaster Bruce Roth’s trial at Reading Crown Court on Monday, the witness said he had been an eight or nine-year-old boarder when Roth was a housemaster at King’s School, Rochester.
The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said Roth made him run in his underpants around the school paddock as punishment for talking after lights out.
He also claimed after suffering a groin injury during “a roughed-up game of hide and seek”, Roth touched him in an empty common room.
His mother told the court she complained to the housemaster Roth assisted after her son told her what happened.
She said: “Alarm bells started to ring – it did seem a little inappropriate.”
Jurors heard she was told Roth had been spoken to and trusted it had been looked into.
The alleged victim said the incident played on his mind as he got older.
The court saw a copy of a Facebook message he sent to confront Roth five years ago and the housemaster’s reply that he did not remember it.
The man decided to come forward when he saw other allegations in the press in early 2011.
He said: “I always suspected there was something really very wrong with it and having read that sent a chill down my spine and probably a bigger deal should have been made while I was at school.”
Alexander Williams, defending, said running round the paddock was “an established method of punishment”.
He also challenged the fact the witness said the incident happened “on a sofa” in an initial statement and on “a row of chairs” in court.
Roth denies 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.
The charges relate to five boys over a period of 22 years, two at King’s College, Rochester, and three at Wellington College, Dukes Ride, Crowthorne.
The trial continues.