Sussex

Christ's Hospital School 'failed to report sexual abuse claim'

Ajaz Karim Image copyright PA
Image caption Ajaz Karim denies sex offences against six teenage girls at the private school in Horsham

A private school did not report to police allegations that a sports teacher sexually assaulted a pupil, a court has heard.

Ajaz Karim, from west London, denies a string of indecent assaults on teenage pupils at Christ's Hospital School, West Sussex, from 1985 to 1993.

Senior staff at the school were aware of the claims against Mr Karim, a former pupil told Brighton Crown Court.

The 63-year-old is accused of carrying out "wholly unnecessary" massages.

Prosecutor Eloise Marshall said that, between 1985 and 1987, Mr Karim massaged a 14-year-old girl's "virtually naked body" and touched her inappropriately after telling her to lie face down on the floor of his locked study.

His alleged victim said she first confided in a school friend a year or two later and then spoke to teachers about four years after she said the encounter happened.

The court heard the school's headmaster from 1987 to 1996, Richard Poulton, had been given a "detailed statement" of the girl's complaint, and Elizabeth Cairncross - the deputy head between 1985 and 2000, who is now the principal of Wells Cathedral School in Somerset - was also aware.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Christ's Hospital School charges up to £31,500 a year

Speaking from behind a screen, the alleged victim said: "Mr Karim touched my body in ways that made me feel deeply uncomfortable. Of that I am certain.

"As far as I am aware no report was made to the police by the school."

Mr Karim is accused of nine indecent assaults and one attempted indecent assault against six girls aged 14 to 18.

Another alleged victim told the jury there was "no misunderstanding" that he tried to kiss her when they were alone.

She said Mr Karim had told her he wanted to "give her a treat" for doing well in a sports session.

"There is no doubt in my mind he tried to kiss me. As I ran away I could hear him laughing," she added.

The trial continues.

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