Belfast Telegraph

Ex-teacher refutes 'disgusting' claims of assaults on boys at Rubane House

By Claire Williamson

A former teacher described as "full of demonic evil" at a children's care home has denied sexually assaulting a pupil in the shower.

He was giving evidence at the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry (HIA) in Banbridge, which is currently examining alleged ill-treatment and sex abuse at Rubane House, Co Down.

He was questioned about the discipline procedures in the school.

"There was a reward and debit system. If they behaved well they got points. That was the essence of it," he said.

The inquiry was set up in 2013 to investigate child abuse at 13 residential institutions over a 73-year period up until 1995.

When asked had he ever heard the boys discussing any sexual abuse allegations, he said he only heard them "slagging each other off about having different orientations".

When asked if it was something he would forget being told, he responded: "I would be disgusted. I don't know how I would have dealt with it. It's not on my radar at all. It would have been something shocking to my system and I wouldn't have been able to keep it to myself."

In 1980 when police spoke to 125 boys resident in the home between 1977 and that year - none made any allegations against the teacher, but in 1995 during Operation Overview, he was named as one of a range of individuals involved.

The Public Prosecution Service decided then the case "fell short of sufficient evidence for prosecution". The former teacher denied all the accusations.

Four individuals have come forward to the HIA inquiry - one of whom is a boy from the 1995 papers.

As well as a series of physical assault allegations, there is also an alleged sexual assault.

One former resident claimed: "I came in and he grabbed me and stripped me naked, pulled me by the hair and assaulted my privates."

He claimed the teacher watched boys getting undressed and taking showers and alleged he "caught him playing with himself when boys were taking showers". He also said the man would look at them and make derogatory comments about the size of their manhood.

The former teacher shook his head as the evidence was read to the court. He said: "It is disgusting. So untrue and pathetic. None of that is true. It is a complete fabrication. None of that happened."

The other alleged incidents include an assault during a class after a boy was given a book and when he told the teacher he had already read it, he alleged he threw it at him and began "swinging punches".

He said: "He pulled me by the hair out of the chair and started kicking me. He stamped on my head with his foot." He told police he was a "wicked sepulchre" and "full of demonic evil".

"At no time did he show any care or respect to the boys in that home. He was a complete animal," he said.

The teacher told the inquiry he was disgusted by the allegations. He said: "I had a lot of sympathy for a lot of boys in the school. I really did care about them. I felt life had dealt them a difficult hand. I would not do any of those things on a person."

An incident was described in evidence given by another boy who said he was "saw stars" after an alleged beating from the teacher. He said: "He grabbed me by the back of my hair. He hit me a dig in the face - I saw stars. I had a black eye and a busted nose."

Asked why the alleged victims would make it up, the former teacher said he "didn't understand it at all".

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