School master 'carried out string of sex attacks'

An approved school housemaster who became a scout leader and council director of social services carried out a string of sex attacks on vulnerable boys over a period of years, a court heard today.

Rod Ryall, 68, appeared at Teesside Crown Court charged with 10 counts of indecent assault on three alleged victims during the 1960s and 1970s.



In 1988 he pleaded guilty to four counts of indecent assault, two counts of gross indecency and one of buggery with boys aged 14 to 17, the jury was told.



Ryall studied physics at Oxford University before taking a PhD in criminology at Cambridge and became a housemaster at Newton Aycliffe Approved School, County Durham, in the mid 1960s.



The prosecution alleges he sexually abused two pupils during his time at the school, where boys who had committed criminal offences were housed and educated.



Adrian Dent, prosecuting, said Ryall befriended one victim and allowed him to watch television in the housemaster's quarters, in the lead-up to abuse.



"This was the 1960s and televisions were not that commonplace and certainly not in institutions like Aycliffe School," he said.



"A housemaster allowing a child to watch television would have been regarded as quite a treat at the time."



The boy, aged about 14 at the time but now in his 50s, alleged Ryall made him commit sex acts on the housemaster.



Ryall told the child not to tell anybody what had happened, and the boy felt he would not be believed anyway, Mr Dent said.



Another pupil, slightly younger, said he would be sexually abused after delivering Ryall's breakfast to his living quarters.



By this time the housemaster had left Aycliffe, but returned to work there as part of his criminology studies.



Ryall got the teenager to commit sex acts on him while still lying in bed, the court heard.



Mr Dent said Ryall paid the boy a small amount or gave him cigarettes.



After leaving the school, Ryall worked in the Midlands and Southampton before becoming deputy director of Calderdale social services in West Yorkshire in 1974, the court heard.



He was promoted to director soon after, and at the same time led a scout group in the area.



One cub, aged about nine, was invited to Ryall's home so he could be helped with a project to make a model aeroplane and the visits became regular, the jury heard.



Mr Dent said: "The defendant as time went on became increasingly more friendly and familiar - what these days, the prosecution say, is called sexual grooming."



Ryall and the child would "play fight", the court heard, before Ryall made him commit a sex act. He would be paid a small amount or given sweets, Mr Dent said.



"The boy didn't tell anybody. He did feel uncomfortable about it but he trusted the defendant."



Mr Dent said the younger of the two alleged victims at Aycliffe School first went to police in 2000 and Ryall was interviewed but not charged.



Last year the older accuser also made a complaint and Ryall was rearrested. Then the former cub scout saw Ryall's photograph last September in the Halifax Evening Courier and made a complaint to West Yorkshire Police, the court heard.



Mr Dent said the victims of the offences Ryall admitted in 1988, at Leeds Crown Court, had no link with his work.



"It shows the defendant could be capable of committing such offences as he is now charged with," Mr Dent said.



Ryall, of Wheatley Drive, Mirfield, West Yorkshire, denies all the charges.



The case is expected to last three weeks.













The older of the two Aycliffe pupils told the court it was a brutal place.

Prior to the abuse, he said: "Ryall was a nice part of the experience, he gave you some hope."



After it began, Ryall's victim told the court: "Once you knew what he wanted, you complied.



"I did what he wanted."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
Young Winstone: His ‘tough-guy’ image is a misconception
people
News
David Ryall in Harry Potter
people
Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Sport
Adnan Januzaj and Gareth Bale
footballManchester United set to loan out Januzaj to make room for Bale - if a move for the Welshman firms up
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Sport
Wayne Rooney warms up ahead of the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United at White Hart Lane
football
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca alongside Harrison Ford's Han Solo in 'Star Wars'
film
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
filmIdris Elba responds to James Bond rumours on Twitter
News
Hackers revealed Oscar-winning actress Lawrence was paid less than her male co-stars in American Hustle
people
Arts and Entertainment
Ellie Levenson’s The Election book demystifies politics for children
bookNew children's book primes the next generation for politics
News
Outspoken: Alexander Fury, John Rentoul, Ellen E Jones and Katy Guest
newsFrom the Scottish referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones
film
News
i100
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
Voices
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers
voicesIt has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015