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Clifton College apologises over sex abuse teacher

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  • Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse
image captionJonathan Thomson-Glover taught German and was a housemaster at the college

A private school has apologised unreservedly over a former teacher jailed for child sex offences.

Jonathan Thomson-Glover, who admitted abusing boys at Clifton College in Bristol, was jailed in August 2015.

Former head teacher Mark Moore, said it "didn't occur" to him to tell police Thomson-Glover took pupils to a holiday home which was a "missed opportunity".

Nick Tolchard, from the college's council, said: "We feel that we have let down children and their parents."

The apology was made as part of an Independent Inquiry Child Sexual Abuse hearing, which is examining abuse at schools over the past 20 years.

image copyrightClifton College
image captionClifton College has around 1,200 pupils and 625 members of staff

Thomson-Glover was jailed for three years and nine months after pleading guilty to 36 counts of making, taking and possessing indecent images of children.

He was also convicted of sexually abusing boys at his holiday home in Cornwall, and was given an additional six month sentence.

The 58-year-old secretly filmed more than 120 boys - aged between 12 and 17 - over a 16-year period.

The inquiry heard two statements from victims who said Thomson-Glover was seen as "cool" by pupils and was regarded as the most important teacher, after the headmaster.

The panel was also informed of a report the college commissioned in 2016 which found a failure to investigate concerns surrounding Thomson-Glover.

The report found numerous complaints about his favouritism of pupils and poor attitude towards safety and compliance.

image copyrightAvon and Somerset Police
image captionHidden cameras filmed the victims at a house in Cornwall, the court heard

Mr Moore, head teacher from 2005 to 2015, said "there were clearly things that we could have done differently; that I could have done differently".

When asked why he did not inform police Thomson-Glover was taking pupils to his holiday home, he said it had "probably" not occurred to him which had been a "missed opportunity".

He also denied that a letter to parents saying Thomson-Glover had resigned due to "personal reasons" was "misleading" because at that point "he hadn't been charged with anything".

"I never intended to mislead anybody. I think, sins of omission rather than sins of commission, and I hold my hand up to failing in that respect." he said.

"In retrospect, they look like the wrong decisions. I can see that."

Mr Tolchard, chairman of the college's council, said: "We are deeply apologetic as a school and we are acting strenuously to prevent the repetition of previous failures."

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