Child abuse at Canterbury’s Chaucer School could have been prevented

Convicted paedophile, Martin Haigh
Caged: Martin Haigh forced children to parade naked

Child abuse at Canterbury’s Geoffrey Chaucer School could have been prevented if a paedophile teacher’s past had surfaced before he started work there.

In March twisted Martin Haigh was convicted of 11 sex offences against children as young as seven at a school in East Sussex and found in possession of vile child abuse images.

The warped 68-year-old had encouraged boys to play sex games with each other and parade in the nude.

It has emerged that Haigh secured a job at the Geoffrey Chaucer School in Canterbury even though his previous employers were said to be aware of allegations made against him.

An ITV documentary broadcast this week has prompted questions about whether further abuse by Haigh could have been prevented.

The Chaucer School

After his conviction last year, former Chaucer pupils made allegations to Kent Police.

It was revealed that Ashdown House, his former employer in East Sussex knew of accusations made against Haigh’s behaviour, but chose to take no further action so long as Haigh left at the end of term.

It left him free to find other work – and indulge his depraved lust for sexual contact with children.

Former Ashdown House head Clive Williams strenuously denied that he knew about the allegations against Haigh.

This version of events, however, has been contested by at least one parent at the school.

After leaving Ashdown House, Haigh began teaching at the Chaucer School in the late 1970s and continued working as a master until the 1980s. The school closed in 2014.

But Haigh’s activities have irrevocably damaged his victims. One, a man now in his 50s, told the court which convicted him: “I have often wondered how my life would have turned out if I had not been abused by Martin Haigh.”

Another said: “however long has passed, Haigh should still be held accountable for his actions.”

ITV’s documentary into the affair Boarding Schools: The Secret Shame is available on the station’s catch-up service.

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