Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Ex-Boundary Oak teacher Nicholas Quest jailed for sex assaults

Nicholas Quest
Image caption Nicholas Quest grossly abused the trust placed in him, the judge said

A former boarding school teacher has been jailed for a string of sex attacks on male pupils.

Nicholas Quest targeted seven boys, aged seven to 13, while he worked at Boundary Oak boarding school in Fareham, Hampshire.

The 59-year-old, of Linden Grove, Gosport, pleaded guilty last month to six counts of indecent assault between 1975 and 1989.

He was jailed for three years at Portsmouth Crown Court.

Quest, who was said to have struggled with his sexuality as a child, taught English, French, Latin and games, the court heard.

He used his popularity among students to get close to the boys, the prosecution said.

But the abuse only came to light recently after a pupil reported the matter to the school.

'Abuse of trust'

Police started an investigation which led to further victims coming forward.

One told police that the ex-teacher "stole my innocence" and "destroyed my trust".

Quest was suspended when the allegations came to light and later resigned.

Sentencing, Judge Roger Hetherington said: "All of these victims will have been affected to some degree by what you did to them.

"It's plain from the statements I have read that some of them have been significantly affected.

"This was a gross abuse of trust."

Quest asked for another indecent assault on a pupil to be taken into consideration.

He was ordered to sign the sex offenders register for life and banned from working with children.

One of his victims, who was nine at the time of the attack, told BBC News he was happy with the result.

"These incidents will always be part of you in your life," he said.

"Here is a man who committed some pretty ugly crimes.

"These kinds of people can't hide in the education system without realising that one day someone will have the courage and strength to come forward to unmask them."

After the hearing, Det Con Sarah Ridler said if there were any other victims they should come forward in confidence.

Stephen Symonds, headmaster at Boundary Oak, said: "We are deeply saddened and appalled by his actions.

"Our thoughts are very much with the former students affected by this case.

"The school takes these offences very seriously indeed and has stringent safeguarding procedures in place for both the day-to-day running of the school and for staff recruitment."

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