Pupils who claim they were abused at Gordonstoun win £500,000

Two former pupils who claimed they were raped, bullied and sexually abused by teachers at prestigious Gordonstoun junior school win £500,000 in out-of-court settlements

  • Two pupils alleged they and others had suffered abuse Aberlour House in Moray
  • It acts as the junior school of the prestigous Gordonstoun boarding school 
  • John Findlay said he was drugged and sexually abused by a teacher in 1990
  • A second pupil alleged she was raped as a 13-year-old by a different teacher
  • They have received a £500,000 out of court settlement following allegations
  • School admit no of liability for unnamed pupil, but admit liability for Mr Findlay

Two former pupils of a prep school linked to elite boarding school Gordonstoun have received a £500,000 following allegations of rape, bullying and sexual abuse.

John Findlay and a second pupil, who has not been named, alleged they and others had suffered abuse Aberlour House, a nearby school which acts as the junior school of Gordonstoun in Moray – attended by King Charles III. 

Mr Findlay, who waived his right to anonymity, said a teacher came into his room, drugged him and sexually abused him after he had asked for help for an injury in the 1990s.

He said he remained fully conscious during the attack – which was photographed by the teacher – but he was unable to move or speak.

The second pupil, a scholarship student, alleged she was raped as a 13-year-old by a different teacher while on a camping trip.

Mr Findlay has always maintained that Gordonstoun should set up a trust to help those who suffered abuse, urging it to take responsibility.

The two former pupils have now received out of court settlements reaching more than £500,000 from its insurers. 

The school’s insurer settled without admission of liability of the unnamed pupil, but admitted liability in the case of Mr Findlay, The Guardian reports. 

John Findlay has received a settlement from the school following allegations of sexual abuse when he was a pupil

Gordonstoun is famous for its links with the royal family, with both the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Edinburgh having attended

Aberlour House School in Moray, where the two former students claimed they were sexually abused

Gordonstoun insists that, despite both students having attended the senior school following the assaults, its junior school Aberlour House was a separate entity until 1999 and, therefore, it cannot be held responsible for the alleged incidents.

The school also says it knows nothing about the cases. 

A teacher was due to go on trial in Scotland charged with the rape of another student, a 13-year-old girl, at the school in 2014.

He denied any wrongdoing, but the trial collapsed when a witnessed decided not to give evidence due to mental health issues.

When the case collapsed, lawyer firm Slater and Gordon decided to sue the school for damages. 

Mr Findlay gave evidence at the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry in October last year. 

The inquiry has heard from several former pupils who described cases of rape and sexual abuse which took place in the 1980s and earlier decades. 

In autumn 1990, he was in his bed in a dormitory when a teacher came into his bedroom and sexually abused him, after he had asked for help with an injury.

The teacher gave him medicine before abusing him, with Mr Findlay saying he was ‘horrendously conscious’ but unable to stop the attack.

He later told his parents about the incident, who contacted Aberlour’s headmaster.

Mr Findlay gave evidence at the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry in October last year following the allegations

His parents were told the teacher would never work at a school again, he said, so they decided not to press charges.

The teacher responsible for the alleged abuse, Derek Jones, is now dead.

Mr Findlay, who has suffered clinically severe post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety since the abuse, spent years pursuing his claim against the school. 

The second student, meanwhile, has suffered lifelong mental health issues since the incident took place.

She first made a complaint in 2012, when her daughter reached 12 – the same age at which she had been abused.

The pupil received £350,000, of which £70,000 will go towards costs.

Expert spychological witnesses argued over whether her PTSD resulted from the sexual abuse or the death of her father three years later.

She told the Guardian: ‘What’s unfair is that, though I have struggled, I have managed to get work over the years. 

‘But that means I’m worth less in compensation for loss of earnings. The irony is that Gordonstoun strives to make you resilient and I am being punished for that.’

Gordonstoun is famous for its links with the royal family, with both the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Edinburgh having attended. 

A spokesperson for the school said: ‘We are very sorry that any former student suffered abuse in their time at the school and we admire the courage of those who have come forward. 

‘Although Gordonstoun cannot answer formally for Aberlour House before 1999, we are providing as much information as we can to the [Scottish Child Abuse] Inquiry and have already taken the opportunity at the Inquiry of offering an apology to anyone who suffered abuse there.’

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