Ex-teacher facing charges of indecently assaulting six pupils over 23-year period

Ex-teacher facing charges of indecently assaulting six pupils over 23-year period

7 February 2018

A RETIRED school teacher accused of indecently assaulting six former pupils has gone on trial at Downpatrick Crown Court.

Seventy five year-old Patrick James Carton, of Marguerite Close, Newcastle, faces 29 charges of indecently assaulting five girls and one boy between 1984 and 2007.

The former mathematics teacher, who denies the allegations, is accused of indecently assaulting the six teenagers while working as a tutor.

A jury of seven women and five 

men was sworn before the start of the trial, which is expected to take three weeks.

Prosecution lawyer Ms Laura Ievers explained that Carton was employed by local families because of his good reputation as a tutor.

She told the jury that the six former students, who were teenagers at the time of the allegations, would describe incidents, some of which occurred over several years.

She said one of the students, who was around 16 when the alleged abuse began, would tell the jury that the defendant repeatedly smacked her bare bottom when she got sums wrong and also “rewarded” her for good behaviour by “touching her when she was separated from the rest of her family”.

She said the injured party would explain that she tried to avoid his lessons and make up excuses so he would not touch her.

Ms Ievers said another woman, who was around 14 when taught by Carton, would tell the jury she was “smacked on every occasion”.

The court heard that Carton asked to teach the girls in their bedrooms.

Ms Ievers explained that Carton denied any criminal wrong doing when he was interviewed about the allegations in 2015.

But he added that he did not smack for punishment, but rather to challenge the children and always with the parents’ consent.

In another police interview, the following year, Ms Ievers said Carton described himself as a “reluctant disciplinarian” who operated a star system for the children, with three stars serving as a warning, four for a smack, five for a smack over underwear and six stars for a smack to the bare bottom.

When asked it this was appropriate, Ms Ievers said he replied: “It probably wasn’t, but I did not think like that at the time”.

Denying any sexual gratification from these punishments, he added that he would probably have “smacked a boy a bit harder”.

Ms Ievers said the jury would also hear from man who “bawled his eyes out” because the defendant would not stop smacking him.

Miss Ievers said another alleged victim told her parents the defendant had smacked her and he was “told not to come back to the house”.

The first witness in the case, a woman who said she was around 12 when taught by Carton, gave evidence by video link.

She told the jury that she thought Carton was joking when he told her, during her first lesson, that he would put her over his knee and spank her if she got a question wrong.

She also thought he was “rude” when he told her to make sure her mum did not disrupt their lesson by coming into the room.

During her second lesson, she said Carton instructed her to close her bedroom curtains so her dad could not see into the room. She said he then set her a test, in which she got some answers wrong.

“I felt humiliated, totally ashamed and I lay over his knee and he smacked me on the bottom the number of times I got questions wrong. I left the room in hysterics,” she said.

She said she was so upset following the incident that her mother cancelled future lessons, without making a fuss.

When asked by Ms Ievers why she went to the police, the woman said it was because of the shame and humiliation she felt.

“As you get older, you realise that should not have happened. He was a teacher, people put trust in him. 

I can’t explain how disgusting it is to do that to a child, a young girl of 13,” she said.

“I felt very angry at myself. I still have the humiliation of getting over a man’s knee and letting him smack me.”

Under cross examination yesterday afternoon, the first witness said she made a complaint about Carton to police after reading in the Down Recorder that he had been arraigned on sexual assault charges.

She said she was shocked to realise she knew some of the other complainants in the case when she met them at a pre-trial meeting on Friday.

Although she admitted having spoken with her mother about the incident in the years that followed, she denied being led by her.

A written statement from the witness’s late mother was read to the jury in which she recalled her daughter’s distress following her lessons with Carton, which she said always lasted “longer than the hour”.

In the statement, the mother said Carton was told not to come back, but turned up at their house “pleading” and promising to be “softer on her”.

The statement added: “She was crying and hid in the hot press. She stayed off school the next day as she was really upset. I never told him what she said to me about him, I just wanted rid of him.”

The trial continues.