Cumbria

Sedbergh School master shook feet to 'check' pupils

Christopher Griffin Image copyright PA
Image caption Christopher Griffin was a former chaplain at the school and taught religious studies and philosophy and ethics

A housemaster accused of sexual assault on two pupils told a court he shook their feet to check up on them.

The Reverend Christopher Griffin is alleged to have touched the feet of the teenagers at Sedbergh School in Cumbria for sexual gratification.

The 57-year-old, of Ingleton, North Yorkshire, denies the charges.

He told Carlisle Crown Court he touched the foot of one to make sure he was in his room and shook the foot of another "to check he was alive".

The male pupils, both over 16, said he slipped his hands under their duvets and stroked and squeezed their feet in 2015 and 2016.

When asked by his barrister whether he had at any stage touched either boy in a sexual way on their feet or lower leg, Mr Griffin said: "No, sir, I would not touch them in any sexual way."

'No response'

He told the court he regularly needed to check on the first complainant, who was a "difficult pupil" and often absent from his room.

"Because of the nature of the room and the hallway and not wanting to be deceived ... I have just shaken his feet to see if he was there", he said.

Referring to the second complainant, Mr Griffin said he checked on him after he had fallen ill.

He said: "He seemed to be asleep. I quietly spoke to him, I didn't get a response.

"I needed to find out if he was still alive so I shook his feet."

The trail continues.

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