For some of the boarders at the exclusive Carmel College, a Saturday night treat was in store. A select group of half a dozen or so young boys would be invited up to watch Match of the Day in the flat of one of their teachers Trevor Bolton, who would give them fizzy drinks and crisps.
Bolton had arrived when he was 31 at the Jewish school, secluded in a pleasant rural campus outside Oxford, to teach French in 1968. He became master of the junior boarding house, looking after boys from 10 to 13 or 14.
When some of the boys became homesick or bullied, he would offer them comfort and a reassuring hug.
One former pupil recalled being “taken under his wing” when he was unhappy; the boy felt out of place at an institution where other pupils arrived in a chauffeur-driven Rolls while he came from modest circumstances.
Another pupil who also found life as boarder difficult said the teacher wanted to be a “second father”.
But beneath his kindly veneer lurked more sinister designs. Over the course of 20 years until he was asked to leave, he took advantage of the boys he had befriended, some as young as 11, and subjected them to a variety of sexual abuse.
One recalled that while the other boys were absorbed in watching the football in the housemaster’s flat, Bolton would put him on his lap and begin fondling him. Then on one occasion, Bolton took him into his bedroom and carried out the first of some 30 to 40 sexual assaults on him over a number of years.
For a short period, he said, the teacher left lewd notes in his desk written in neat, turquoise ink. Once he was assaulted in a rehearsal cubicle in the school’s music room.
Another ex-pupil, who had found the teacher “initially comforting,” told Oxford Crown Court that Bolton had smuggled him out of the boys’ dormitory and into his flat. He would slip his hand inside the boy’s pyjamas. “I was screaming for it to stop,” he said.
But asked why he did not report anything, he said that “Uncle Trevor” was the teacher in charge – “the person I was supposed to turn to if I had any problems”.
Others recounted lying naked in the master’s bed with him. One said that Bolton used to wash him in the bath from “head to toe” and say “This is what fathers do.”
When the teacher molested him, he said, he was too young to know better at the age of 11. Only later did he realise that what was going on was wrong. Bolton was “a predator,” he said. “He used his power and manipulated me into a position for his own sexual gratification.”
One pupil, while at school, once remarked to another that “something horrible” had happened him without going into detail. Mostly, they were too embarrassed to tell anyone. One described his family as “stiff upper lip” who would not be inclined to talk about such things. In another instance, Bolton inveigled himself into the boy’s family and even helped to pay the school fees.
It was not as though abuse were unknown at the school. The court heard in passing that two teachers were dismissed after complaints from boys. Bolton’s luck ran out finally in 1988.
The headteacher Philip Skelker received a letter from the parents of a former pupil; it enclosed another letter apparently written by Bolton to their son while he was at the school which, among others, imagined what the parents would think of the teacher if they saw him dressed in shorts. The head was “troubled” and, after he discussed it with the chairman of governors, Bolton was sacked.
Mr Skelker even sent a copy of a letter to the Department of Education and Science asking for Bolton to be blacklisted but was “appalled” to learn that he had found a job at another school.
But it took almost 25 years before he was eventually exposed, long after the college’s closure in 1997. Another of his victims had told his wife about what he had suffered at Carmel. She reported it to the police; at first her husband wasn’t sure about giving a statement but she persuaded him. She also circulated the information on a closed Facebook group.
As police investigated further, other victims came forward or were tracked down. In one instance, Bolton unwittingly divulged the name of one victim. Interviewed by the police, he explained that he had left the school as a result of an unfounded allegation that he wanted to get into bed with a boy.
The police now went to see the ex-pupil who gave them his account of what had happened nearly three decades earlier.
More than one victim told the court that they had tried to suppress the memories of their experiences since childhood. Only after a second course of therapy, one said, “I have forgiven myself.”
Another said that Bolton “destroyed my life.” For decades, “I have not been able to cuddle a girl because I related in my mind that cudding equals abuse.”
Trevor Bolton sentenced to 19 years for sexually abusing boys at Carmel College
By Josh Jackman, October 23, 2015
Trevor Bolton has been sentenced to 19 years in prison for sexually abusing children at a Jewish boarding school.
The former teacher, who abused eight boys aged 11 to 15 at the now-closed Carmel College over a 20-year period from 1968 to 1988, was convicted on all 25 counts brought against him.
Bolton, 78, was given 10 years for serious sexual offences, six years for 16 counts of indecent assaults on a male person under 16 and a further three years for six counts of indecency with a child.
The sentences, which were handed down on Friday, will run consecutively.
Det Con Trish Coyne of Oxfordshire Child Abuse Investigation Unit said that the length of these sentences “reflects the severity of Bolton’s crimes.
“While the offences took place some time ago, and despite the fact that Bolton’s eight victims are successful individuals, every single one of them has admitted the offences have had an impact on them well into their adult lives.
“I would like to thank their bravery and patience. They have waited a long time to see justice be done.”
Adrian Foster, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service, said: “As a housemaster, Trevor Bolton lived in a flat above the boys’ dormitories. He abused his position of trust and took advantage of his status to systematically prey on vulnerable or homesick young boys by inviting them to his flat to watch TV and smoke.
“He then abused them for his own sexual gratification. It is only due to the great courage of the victims that the despicable behaviour of this man has been exposed. I would like to pay tribute to them for their strength and tenacity in coming forward.”
He hoped that the outcome would have an impact on others who have been abused, saying: “The conviction serves as an important message to people who have been the victim of such crimes or those who know such crimes are being committed, that they should come forward and that time is no barrier to justice.”