Belfast Telegraph

Maths tutor smacked bare buttocks of teen pupils during lessons

By Paul Higgins

The former head of maths at St Colman's College in Newry has been convicted of indecently assaulting five girls and a boy he was privately tutoring.

The Downpatrick Crown Court jury of seven women and five men found Patrick Carton (75) unanimously guilty on 28 counts of indecent assault.

They also convicted him of a further count of indecent assault by a majority decision of 11 to one.

All offences were committed on various dates between February 17, 1983 and June 30, 2007.

Carton, from Marguerite Close in Newcastle, remained impassive in the dock as the verdicts were announced.

Trial Judge Brian Sherrard adjourned passing sentence until April 27 by which time a pre-sentence probation report will have been written.

Carton, who taught at both St Colman's and De la Salle High School in Downpatrick, was freed on continuing bail but ordered to sign the sex offender's register before he left the courthouse.

During the seven-week trial the jury heard the six victims, each of them teenagers at the time of the abuse, revealed how Carton tutored them in maths in their bedrooms and that he had a "star system" of discipline.

The jury heard evidence that three stars served "as a warning", four resulted in a smack, five was a smack over underwear and six stars meant the pupil was smacked on his or her the bare bottom.

The victims gave evidence that on occasions, Carton instructed them to lie in their bed where he smacked them but that in other incidents, they were "put across" Carton's knee.

One of the females repeatedly assaulted by Carton told the jury she had told Carton to stop but it was "very hard" for a teenager to challenge a then 50-year-old man.

She said that when he first told her of his methods she thought he was "joking".

"I told him I didn't want to get smacked. I didn't like it. It was not right," she said.

"He said this would make me pass my maths. It would make my parents proud."

She outlined how, when she was in lower sixth and before she got her A-Level results, the abuse escalated to sexual touching with Carton telling her it was her "award" for doing well in her lessons.

The male victim told how Carton pulled his pants down to smack him while being taught maths at his home in the 1980s.

He described one incident where he had to "fight him off with his underwear around his ankles" because he wouldn't stop hitting him.

In police interviews, Carton denied gaining any sexual gratification, telling officers it was "the most effective method" that led to "the best results".

An NSPCC NI spokeswoman said it was "vital" abuse victims feel confident to speak out.

"As a tutor, Carton had a duty to protect children in his care, but instead he abused that position of trust to carry out this appalling catalogue of offences against his young pupils," she added.

Belfast Telegraph

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