A MAN who says he was abused as a Brighouse schoolboy in the 1970s has launched a legal battle for compensation.
The man, now aged 47, says he was the victim of a string of sexual assaults when he was a pupil at the William Henry Smith School in Rastrick, a boarding school for boys with social, emotional, and behavioural difficulties.
He is seeking up to £50,000 damages and is suing the school’s governing body and the trustees who run The Smith Foundation – the charity behind the school.
The William Henry Smith School, which was established in 1961 and is still in operation.
In a separate case, West Yorkshire Police have confirmed that five people have now been arrested over allegations of sexual and physical abuse stretching back many years.
Four men aged 64, 64, 66 and 43, and a 43-year-old woman, are all currently on bail.
A police spokesman confirmed the investigation was currently ongoing.
The writ, filed in the High Court in London by lawyers acting for the former pupil, alleges the former headmaster, Peter Beall, “emotionally, sexually and physically abused and assaulted him between October 1976 and July 1979”.
The claimant states he would be summoned to Beall’s study where he was required to undress, change into silk shorts, and be caned, before sitting on Beall’s lap and molested.
The writ also alleges he was sexually assaulted in bed at night, when he would be roused from sleep to feel a hand under the bedclothes.
The writ claims sometimes the hand would belong to Beall while on other occasions he did not know who was touching him.
The victim, who lives at Ruddington in Nottingham, is also suing over claims that a male member of staff watched as he showered, which was degrading and an invasion of privacy.
He is suing the governors of the William Henry Smith School, and the trustees of the Smith Foundation, of Boothroyd, Brighouse, for damages and aggravated damages, and hopes to win up to £50,000 if his claim is successful.
He claims the governors and trustees are vicariously liable to Beall’s actions, and say they were negligent in employing Beall when he was unsuitable to work in a school.
They negligently allowed Beall to cane him against regulations, allowed him to work unsupervised with children, and employed other staff who were not vigilant enough to stop him being abused by Beall and others, the writ claims.
It is also alleged that the governors and trustees failed to have a proper system of care and supervision at the school to keep children reasonably safe from injury and abuse.
The victim alleges he suffered pain, humiliation, and psychiatric problems as a result of the abuse. The man is also seeking £3,000 for the cost of treatment recommended bya psychiatrist.
Peter Beall, who was born in 1922 in London, was appointed head at the school in January 1961 after working at an approved school in Buckinghamshire.
He had served in the Army during World War Two and lost a leg while in action in Italy.