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Ex-West Sussex school chaplain and teacher convicted of sex offences against boy pupil

News   •   May 03, 2019 13:18 BST

A former teacher and chaplain at a Horsham public school has been convicted of a series of sexual offences against a pupil in his care.

Gary Dobbie, 67, of Rue De La Piale, Albi, France, was convicted of four counts of sexual assaults against the boy between 28 and 31 years ago, at Hove Crown Court on Friday (3 May) after a nine-day trial.

Dobbie had already been convicted in June last year at the same Court of 15 offences against eight other pupils aged between 12 and 19, while a teacher at the school, all but one between 1991 and 1996.

Following the further allegation received by police for the first time during 2018, Dobbie appeared again at the same Court in April this year and pleaded not guilty to four charges that he indecently assaulted the further victim, then aged between 13 and 17 between 1986 and 1991, who was also a pupil at the school while Dobbie was a teacher. One of the counts related to multiple occasions.

He was remanded in custody to be sentenced on 12 June this year for all 19 offences - those of which he was convicted in June last year, and those of which he was convicted on 3 May this year.

Detective Sergeant Karrie Bohanna of the Sussex Police Complex Abuse Unit said; “This latest case involved Dobbie establishing a strong relationship with the male pupil over a period of two to three years whilst alone with him at his own on-site lodgings, where he would give him alcohol and assault him whilst having intimate conversations.

"The pupil had suffered a difficult time at the school and was bullied. He turned to Dobbie for refuge and had become close to him but on many occasions Dobbie assaulted the boy at his private lodgings, and on two school trips.

"As the court heard last year in the previous trial, Dobbie had also engaged in systematic grooming and sexual abuse over many years against other pupils. Dobbie would host dinner parties at his house in the school grounds with pupils. He would give them alcohol and encourage them to talk about their sexual encounters, and when alone with them, would assault them.

"Dobbie preyed on the vulnerabilities of his victims for his own sexual gratification.

"This has been a very complex and sensitive investigation in which the victims of Dobbie showed real courage to speak up and report both to Christ's Hospital School and the police.

"Our investigation began in January 2016 when pupils first contacted the school and reported the abuse.

"Dobbie's victims were mainly children who should have been able to feel safe whilst in the care of their teachers; instead he exploited his position in order to groom and sexually abuse his victims.

"All the offending in this case dates back to between 17 and 30 years ago, and does not involve current staff or pupils at the school.

"We have had the fullest co-operation from the school throughout this investigation, and they have supported us in providing all the information we requested, which helped us to contact these victims, and witnesses.

"Anyone who is the victim of sexual abuse, now or in the past, can contact us at any time, online or by calling 101, and can arrange to talk in confidence to experienced investigators."

Further advice and sources of support are available on the Sussex Police website.

Dobbie is a registered sex offender for life.

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Newsdesk Guidance;

Ref: SXP54551/2019
Author: Tim Mahony

One of the victims of Dobbie was also the victim of another teacher at the same school, Andrew Husband, 69, of Wigginton Road, York, who was sentenced in July 2018 for five counts of indecent assault and one count of rape, all against the girl in her mid-teens between 1990 and 1994. He was given a twelve-and-a-half year sentence for the rape, and concurrent sentences for the five indecent assaults amounting to four-and-a-half years.

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