Former Fettes College pupil sues for alleged abuse during swimming lessons

A former pupil of Fettes College is suing the prestigious Edinburgh school following allegations she was sexually abused during swimming lessons.

Sunday, 30th August 2020, 2:57 pm
Updated Sunday, 30th August 2020, 4:29 pm

According to a report in the Mail on Sunday, the woman claims she was groped by a member of staff in the early 1990s.

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The article states concerns were raised at the time but the teacher was not sacked.

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Fettes College in Edinburgh.

The former pupil – who is due to give evidence later this year to the long-running Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry – said: “What happened to me and the way the school reacted has affected my whole life. The inappropriate touching in the pool and the way I was humiliated and bullied made me want some remedy.

“As a child I felt powerless, but I have a voice now.”

The law firm representing her, Thompsons, has more than 1000 sexual abuse survivors on its files.

The inquiry has been suspended amid the pandemic, but the woman has launched legal action seeking an apology and damages for the lack of care she claims she received in the junior school.

She added: “I remember tickles, being lifted from the water, having my ears nibbled. I hated it all.”

It is understood the teacher was banned from entering the pool after a colleague heard pupils talking about swimming lessons.

The colleague reported the member of staff to school management.

The former pupil added: “Next time we had swimming, he was furious, shouting that because of us he could not even enter his own pool.

“But he still had power over us. Before he was banned, he had worked out ways to touch us without being seen. It was frightening and humiliating.”

Laura Connor, head of Thompsons' historic abuse unit, said: "What our client experienced while a child at Fettes is the stuff of nightmares. The effects of the abuse still live with her today and I am determined that Fettes will be held accountable for the appalling conduct of their employee.”

Years after the alleged abuse, the school reported the matter to police following complaints from parents.

A spokesperson for Fettes said: “The college co-operated fully with the police investigation in 1998. As was widely reported at the time, the case did not proceed.

“Fettes College takes any allegation of non-recent child abuse extremely seriously. Any allegation is passed to Police Scotland.”

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