'Concerns' over Somerset school's response on Keith Ruby abuse

Keith Ruby Police described Ruby as "a manipulative man"

A teacher recently jailed for child abuse was first accused of being a paedophile more than seven years ago, the BBC has found.

Police say Keith Ruby, 36, could not be charged in 2006 because the victim felt unable to give evidence.

The BBC's Inside Out West programme discovered North Somerset Council had "concerns" about how the school dealt with the allegations at the time.

Sidcot School said its safeguarding procedures were "completely compliant".

Ruby, of Biddisham Lane, Axbridge, Somerset, was convicted in January of 16 counts of serious sexual offences against a teenage boy dating back to 2005/06 and jailed for 10 years.

He left Sidcot School in January 2005, eight months before the allegations of abuse were first brought to light.

In a statement, the school, in Winchcombe, Somerset, said: "At the school, we hold our duty of care to students as paramount and have cooperated at every stage with the authorities in their investigations.

"Our safeguarding procedures, both now and at the time of these incidents, are completely compliant.

"We are confident that the school offers the greatest possible protection to its students and that the school has a justified reputation for the excellent quality of its pastoral care, where our staff work tirelessly to protect and nurture the welfare of students. "

Det Ch Insp Richard Kelvey, of Avon and Somerset Constabulary, said: "Unfortunately at that time the victim in this case wasn't in a position in his life where he could fully disclose what had happened to him and the evidence available at the time was insufficient for Keith Ruby to be charged and prosecuted with any offences."

The allegations against Ruby, made by pupils, were first brought to light by former colleague Andrew Counsell who passed them onto the school and then the police.

A spokesman for North Somerset Council said it had concerns about the way in which the school had dealt with those allegations.

"We made these concerns known to the school. Advice was given regarding the importance of following child protection procedures and child protection training was also provided for staff," he said.

The school said Mr Counsell did not give them enough time or information to investigate the claim properly before going to the authorities.

After raising the allegations, Mr Counsell went on to make unfounded claims against the school and was subsequently dismissed for gross misconduct.

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