Former teacher and Baptist minister found guilty of historic sexual abuse

Derby Crown Court.
Derby Crown Court.
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A former teacher turned Baptist minister has been found guilty of sexually abusing a boy he taught at a Derbyshire school in the 1970s.

John Thompson had denied sexually touching the boy over a four-year period at Crich C of E Junior School 40 years ago.

He faced charges of six counts of indecent assault and two of gross indecency with the pupil. A jury of six men and six women at Derby Crown Court took just over three hours to reach a unanimous verdict against Thompson, of Tutbury Road, Burton.

Thompson, a father of four boys, lived in Crich and was a third year teacher at the school between 1968 and 1981. He then left teaching to study theology, becoming employed as a Baptist minister, working at Babington Hospital in Belper, Crich Baptist Church, and a church in Sutton-in-Ashfield before becoming a minister in Burton in 1988.

Judge Nirmal Shant QC remanded Thompson in custody for a sentencing hearing on September 12.

Speaking during the trial this week, the victim, who is now in his 50s, said Thompson would make him undress in an office at the school and then went on to touch him sexually.

The man said his experiences at the hands of Thompson “destroyed my life” and that he did not come forward until 40 years after the alleged abuse as he was “ashamed and embarrassed with myself”.

Giving evidence he said: “He has destroyed my life and taken my dreams. He has left me in fear. I came to expect it (the abuse) as the norm.

“I went to school and would do maths, English, whatever other subjects I was doing and then I did that (was abused by Thompson) which I thought was normal.

“I just wish I had told somebody and I could perhaps have had a better chance of life.

“But I just kept it bottled up because I was scared at what other people would say, that they would laugh at me.”

The jury heard how Thompson had a previous conviction for sex charges against underage girls but not boys.

Commenting after Thompson was found guilty, an NSPCC spokesman said: “Teachers are entrusted with playing a vital role in a young person’s development, but Thompson used this trust to carry out a vile campaign of abuse and satisfy his depraved desires.

“The victim then had to live with the abuse he suffered, while Thompson went on to enjoy a career as a Baptist minister.

“His victim has shown tremendous bravery to relive the horrors of what happened, after being forced to endure the ordeal of a crown court trial by Thompson’s appalling denials.

“This case shows how important it is for victims to have the confidence to speak out in the knowledge they will be listened to – whether the abuse happened three days ago or 30 years ago, and no matter who the abuser is. They do not need to suffer alone.

“They can call the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000 or children can speak to Childline on 0800 1111.”