London

London Catholic school abuse accused 'have record'

A priest and a teacher accused of sexually assaulting a boy at a Catholic school have both served jail terms for similar offences, a jury has heard.

John Maestri, 72, and Father David Pearce, 69, both deny abusing a pupil at St Benedict's junior school in Ealing, west London, in 1977 and 1978.

Fr Pearce was jailed for five years in 2009 for sex abuse and indecent assaults, Isleworth Crown Court heard.

Mr Maestri, of Kent, was jailed for 30 months in 2003 for indecent assaults.

The jury was told Fr Pearce's convictions were committed against five pupils between 1972 and 2008, while Mr Maestri, of King Edward's Road, Chatham, indecently assaulted three boys under 16 between 1980 and 1984.

More victims

The maths teacher, who had the official title "master of discipline" while at the school, was disqualified from working with children and put on the sex offenders register for life.

In June 2005, he was served a community rehabilitation order for indecently assaulting a boy aged under 14 between 1982 and 1983.

In January 2009, when more victims emerged, he was convicted of indecently assaulting a boy under 14 from 1979 until 1981.

He was given a two-year prison sentence suspended for two years.

The latest alleged victim only contacted police after reading press reports relating to the duo, the court heard.

Mr Maestri denied ever caning anyone and denied abusing the boy.

"It either never happened or it was done by a colleague," he said.

The trial continues.

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