Teacher James Husband has been found guilty of raping a 15-year-old girl.
Husband, 68, of Wigginton in York, was also convicted of five counts of indecently assaulting a girl as young as 14 between 1990 and 1994. He insisted they had “consensual sex” once when she was 16.
He was a teacher at Christ’s Hospital School in Horsham, West Sussex when he carried out his attacks.
His colleague at the time, Gary Dobbie, was also found guilty of 15 counts involving multiple offences against six boys and two girls as young as 12 between 1998 and 2001.
Husband and Dobbie, 66, of Albi in France but formerly of Hereford, were branded “predatory and calculated” by the NSPCC.
Laughed about their crimes
A total of five teachers from Christ’s Hospital School have now been convicted after police investigated complaints made by 22 former students.
A jury of seven women and five men at Hove Crown Court deliberated for 25 hours and 43 minutes before returning their verdicts against Husband and Dobbie on Thursday (July 5).
The pair, who were friends, used to laugh together about their exploits, which took place over the course of 13 years while they lived and worked at the school, the court was told.
Dobbie and Husband looked straight ahead from the dock and did not react as the verdicts were read out.
‘Like a rag doll’
The court heard how Husband told a 15-year-old pupil: “It’s OK, I’ve had a vasectomy” before raping her.
Afterwards, he confided in Dobbie about the encounter, who later joked with the girl that she had “beard rash”, indicating that he knew what had happened. He also indecently assaulted the same pupil later on.
Husband’s victim “lay there like a rag doll” while he raped her and waited for it to be over, the jury was told.
She described being “disgusted with herself” and felt suicidal.
His victim reported him to the school’s chaplain but no action was taken. Even her mother did not believe her story.
Left the school
Husband left the school after it emerged that he was having a consensual affair with a 17-year-old pupil who was not under-age and not a complainant in the case.
The married father, whose children were attending the school at the time, “deceived” senior staff by embarking on the fling, jurors heard.
The former tutor and head of department talked about the “spur-of-the-moment” encounter which involved several instances leading from holding hands and kissing to sex.
Giving evidence in his defence, he spoke of his desire to kiss her during a period when he felt disgruntled with how the school was being run.
In a diary entry read to the court, the girl said: “Told too many people at school then decided to go for it. The fling. So got off with him on Saturday night. The most amazing thing. Happy.”
How the case unfolded
Sussex Police began investigating teachers at Christ’s Hospital School in 2016 after allegations were made about Husband.
The cases, involving different victims and time periods, were treated as separate inquiries – apart from Dobbie and Husband, who were tried as co-defendants.
Publicity around the prosecutions prompted several more former pupils to come forward with complaints.
Three other former members of staff at the school have been convicted of sex offences against pupils.
Peter Webb and Peter Burr were both jailed in the last year after admitting committing offences at the school between the 1960s and 1980s.
Sports coach Ajaz Karim, was found guilty in April of assaulting six girls between 1985 and 1993 and is due to be sentenced in August.
In October, barristers representing Burr, Karim, Dobbie and Husband tried to ban press coverage of court proceedings until all the cases had concluded – effectively attempting to delay publicity for the best part of a year – by claiming that it would be prejudicial to the defendants.
But Judge Christine Henson rejected the plea after it was challenged by Press Association in the public interest.
An NSPCC spokesman said: “Children should feel safe and protected at school. Dobbie and Husband’s predatory and calculated actions represent a shocking abuse of their position of trust.”