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?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Sport
Dave Mackay lifts the FA Cup in 1967 having skippered Spurs to victory
football
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
News
Jihadi John
newsMonikers like 'Jihadi John' make the grim sound glamorous
Arts and Entertainment
As depicted in Disney's Robin Hood, King John was cowardly, cruel, avaricious and incompetent
film
Life and Style
Travis Kalanick, the co-founder of Uber, is now worth $5.3bn
tech
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

Circles South East Youth Service: Youth Services Volunteer

this is an unpaid voluntary position: Circles South East Youth Service: LOOKIN...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive - OTE £30,000+

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading privately owned sp...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Software Developer is require...

Recruitment Genius: Logistics Supervisor

£24000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The largest supplier to the UK'...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn