Teacher 'used extra work ruse' to groom Sussex schoolgirl

A former teacher used after-school lessons as a ruse to groom a girl for sexual abuse, a court has been told.

Bernard Haunch subjected her to repeated sex assaults while he was a "senior and respected" teacher at a Sussex school, Lewes Crown Court heard.

Mr Haunch, now 72, of Sutton, south London, denies 16 offences, including rape and indecent assault, between June 1975 and September 1983.

Prosecutor Richard Barton said the girl kept it a secret until two years ago.

He said the grooming began when Mr Haunch told the girl's mother she needed extra help with her schooling.

"It's the Crown's case that this was a lie that he used as a ruse to allow him to take the girl up to his room so she was able to repeatedly visit him on her own," he said.

School chapel 'assaults'

He added that "at no stage" did he give her extra tuition. "Instead, over the months and years, he gradually groomed her."

Mr Barton said the accused offered the girl praise, threats and rewards and at one point threatened to kill her parents if she ever disclosed what happened.

He would ask her to play games with sexual themes, said Mr Barton, and in what he described as the most serious incident he said Mr Haunch invited the girl to the school chapel, where she was repeatedly sexually assaulted by different men while he looked on.

The court heard that Mr Haunch was arrested after she alerted relatives two years ago.

He allegedly rejected the girl's claims but admitted "a very serious error" with a boy pupil, which had led to his dismissal from the school.

After his sacking, the court heard, the teacher wrote a letter to the boy's parents, saying how ashamed he was.

The case was not referred to the police at the time, but the boy later told police he had been abused by Mr Haunch.

The trial continues.

More on This Story

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More England stories


Features & Analysis

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • Audi R8Best in show

    BBC Autos takes a look at 10 of the most eye-catching new cars at the 2015 Geneva motor show


  • A robotClick Watch

    The latest in robotics including software that can design electronics to solve problems

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.