Latin teacher accused of assault on pupils

By Nick Cullen, January 28, 2010
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A Latin master at a top London public school subjected three pupils to a sustained campaign of sexual abuse, a court has heard.

Michael Gordon, 55, a member of Pinner and Northwood Liberal Synagogue, regularly stroked the youngsters and pressed himself up against them, it is claimed.

The boys, who were all aged between 10 and 13 at the time, said the abuse made them feel “shivery” and “horrible”, Southwark Crown Court heard.

This behaviour, both during and after class, continued over a three-year-period, before a fellow member of staff realised what was going on, jurors were told.

Prosecutor Nicola Merrick said Gordon had taught Latin and French at the exclusive private prep school in London since around 2001.

She said: “These are not the most serious allegations of sexual assault you will ever hear about, but they are unpleasant, they are nasty, they are a breach of trust by a teacher, and they led the boys to be worried and upset.”

The court heard that Gordon, a teacher with 25 years’ experience, began to assault the first boy when he was in year six and aged 10.

Miss Merrick said: “The boy said that Mr Gordon would in the course of a lesson get very, very close to him. He felt that he was being singled out for special attention.”

The court heard intimate details of the alleged assaults. Miss Merrick said: “These events were noted by other kids in the class. It became a running joke in the class, and he said that when Mr Gordon was doing what he was doing to him, the boys would start laughing and giggling, and he said that made him feel awkward and unpleasant.”

The court heard that the boy tried to tell his parents and the school’s deputy head, but did not give details, and Gordon continued to work at the school.

It was only when another teenager saw the youngster looking “ashen” and asked him what was going on that he told her: “I think Mr Gordon likes me too much.”

When police interviewed the boy, he identified the other two victims, who gave similar accounts of the abuse they had suffered, the court heard.

One told investigators that he had been the victim of sexual assault “about once a week” while he was in Mr Gordon’s class.

When married father-of-one Gordon was arrested in April last year, he denied any sexual touching.

Miss Merrick said: “He said he hugged one of the boys in his teaching of him, but said that was done in a fatherly way, and was not at all sexual.”

Gordon also told officers that one of the boys had been behaving badly in class and was not doing his work properly, and he had threatened to email his parents, and that this may have been a reason for the allegation.

Gordon, of Pinner, Middlesex, denies 14 counts of sexual assault of a child under 13 and four of sexual assault between September 1, 2006 and April 9, 2009.

The trial continues.

    Last updated: 4:40pm, January 28 2010