Ex-pupils claiming historic sex abuse at Forest Row school where Boris Johnson attended

The Argus: Boris Johnson as a former pupil at Ashdown House in Forest Row Boris Johnson as a former pupil at Ashdown House in Forest Row

Former pupils of an exclusive prep school are planning legal action over allegations of historic abuse.

Ex-pupils of Ashdown House, in Forest Row, where Boris Johnson and Damien Lewis were educated, claim sexual and physical abuse was “rife” in the 1970s and ’80s.

They allege the “damaging and horrendous actions” were perpetrated by “more than one” teacher.

 


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In a letter seen by The Argus, a former pupil wrote to fellow alumni: “A number of us have decided to take further action towards a number of teachers at Ashdown House and the school itself.

“The reasonwhy we have decided to do this so late on is that it has come to light that sexual and physical abuse was rife between the years of 1970-1980 and from more than one teacher at the school.

“To make matters worse it is now apparent that the school itself was aware of these events, albeit not fully, but chose not to do anything about it.

“The effects of this abuse has damaged a number of pupils long into adulthood and it is felt amongst us that, as part of the healing process, it is important for us to take our power back and take action against such damaging and horrendous actions.”

The former pupils hope the claims will be acknowledged and to receive a “sincere and meaningful apology” from both the alleged individuals involved and the school itself.

Civil damages will also be sought against the school for psychological damage.

The action is being led by London law firmSlater & Gordon.

Ashdown House is thought to have been investigated by police after a complaint in 2003 but no one was prosecuted.

Cothill Educational Trust, which has owned the school since 2009, said: “Weare aware that Sussex Police were officially informed in 2003 of an allegation of sexual abuse relating to a period in the mid- 70s.

“We understood that the police were dealing with the investigation.

“The trust would like it to be known that it takes its safeguarding responsibilities very seriously indeed.”

A Sussex Police spokesman said no record of a probe into the school could be found.

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