Former City lawyer Patrick Raggett wins £54,000 damages after suffering years of abuse at Jesuit-run school

 

A former City lawyer who claims he made a mess of his life because he was sexually abused at a Jesuit-run school today won £54,923 damages.

Patrick Raggett had asked for an award of up to £5 million on the basis that the abuse caused recognised psychiatric disorders and behaviour which led to the loss of his legal career.

Mrs Justice Swift at London's High Court said he was not entitled to such a large award and awarded him £40,000 for pain and suffering, plus interest and expenses, including the cost of therapy.

She said: "I am well aware that the conclusions I have reached in my judgment will be disappointing to the claimant and that its contents may cause him some distress.

"This is particularly unfortunate and regrettable since there is no doubt that he was the victim of an insidious form of abuse involving a grave breach of trust and that he has suffered significantly as a result. As a result, he is deserving of sympathy.

"Over recent years, he has come to believe that all the adverse events that have occurred in his life are attributable to the abuse and that belief, which I do not doubt is sincerely held, has clearly brought him a great deal of comfort."

Mr Raggett, of Chiswick, west London, was not in court for the ruling.

He was abused between the ages of 11 and 15 by Father Michael Spencer, a teacher at Preston Catholic College in Lancashire, who died in 2000 aged 76.

The abuse was not penetrative and resulted in no physical injury but Mr Raggett, who has waived anonymity, says it left him feeling "violation, dread, isolation, shame and humiliation".

Now 54, and married with a child, he says he did not connect his experiences at school with years of under-achievement at work, a failed marriage and binge drinking until he had therapy after an April 2005 breakdown.

The governors of the college, which closed in 1978, denied liability and said the case was brought too late but Mrs Justice Swift ruled against them in 2009.

Between 1970 and 1974, Spencer, who was Mr Raggett's form teacher and coach of the football team he captained, observed him naked, filmed him, photographed him and touched him inappropriately.

Mr Raggett said this had significant long-term psychological effects on him but lawyers for the governors questioned his credibility and said his problems were caused by environmental and hereditary factors.

Mrs Justice Swift was asked to conduct a review of Mr Raggett's life history, from his early childhood and schooling to student days at Liverpool University where he read English, a short accountancy traineeship and law school in Guildford.

She said that members of his family referred to him appearing taciturn, moody and sometimes distressed during his adolescent years.

"I am satisfied that this behaviour was attributable to the abuse which he was suffering. As a result of the abuse, the claimant had difficulties relating to some of his schoolmates and became somewhat withdrawn from his family.

"I have concluded that the abuse also had an adverse effect on the claimant's attitude to his school work and therefore on his examination results.

"I have found that the effects of the sexual abuse persisted for a period of about eight years from the start of the abuse until the beginning of the claimant's third year at university, by which time he was living in a house with friends and taking a full part in the usual student social and sporting activities.

"In 2005, his realisation of the extent of the abuse resulted in an awakening of memories of certain incidents and, more particularly, of the emotions associated with them.

"Following that episode, the claimant suffered symptoms of distress and low mood, together with repeated ruminations about the abuse. I have concluded that those symptoms persisted until some time after the trial of limitation and liability.

"By the end of 2009, the claimant was showing some improvement and I am glad to say that this has been maintained ever since. He has now remarried and his new family, together with the career as a therapist and counsellor on which he has embarked, have brought him considerable satisfaction and fulfilment."

The judge said that, in concluding that Mr Raggett had certain personality traits which had caused difficulties in his personal, social and employment life, she did not intend to suggest he was to blame for that.

"We all have different personalities and some are more difficult to manage than others. Most of us do not have our actions and behaviour subjected to the type of detailed analysis that I have had to undertake in this case.

"I doubt that it would be a pleasant experience for anyone. However, since the claimant has brought this claim, it has been my duty to conduct that analysis and to set out my conclusions in this judgment."

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine