ABUSE CLAIMS: 'Disruptive' boy was being raped by older pupils

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AMONG those taking action are the parents of a 17-year-old boy, who has asked not be identified. His mother said: 'We are doing this because our son knows about things that most people go to their graves without ever knowing.'

The boy's schooling was disrupted by medical treatment and at 10 he went to a council-run school for children with learning disabilities at Rhydd Court, Malvern, Hereford and Worcester, as a day pupil. He left the 90-pupil school four years later. At home he became disruptive. He smashed windows, cut up his clothes and locked himself in his room for hours on end. 'When we saw his headmaster, he said that our son told a lot of lies,' his mother said.

The county education department refused to move him from the school. So the family decided to sell their house and move away. On the day the estate agent was due to come and value their property, a police detective and a social worker called and said they had evidence the boy had been sexually abused.

'Suddenly everything dropped into place and it was an enormous relief,' his mother said.

The boy refused to tell them what had happened for some time. It emerged that he had been raped repeatedly by older boys in the boot room and the lavatories. He had been stealing money from home in order to bribe his tormentors to leave him alone.

No one has been charged. Police investigated 40 allegations of abuse and cautioned 17 boys. The school was closed in May 1991. The county council mounted an investigation and concluded there had been a 'culture of institutional sexual abuse'.

The headmaster, James Moore, who was not implicated in the abuse allegations, was suspended and has since taken early retirement.

The boy is only gradually coming to terms with his experience. His mother said: 'He now wants to devote his life to working with animals - particularly horses - because he knows that they cannot hurt him.'