Ronald Wotton jailed for historic sex offences
Victims of a sexualy abusive teacher feigned illness, and in one case swallowed washing up liquid in order to avoid him, a court has been told.
Ronald Wotton pleaded guilty to 17 counts of indecent assault, three of indecency with a male and one of indecency with a child.
The 73-year-old, of Park Lane, Murton, Seaham, was jailed for five years.
Teesside Crown Court heard the offences took place at a Roman Catholic school between 1969 and 1980.
Judge Howard Crowson said: "You were sadly operating at a time when, to most of the adult public, it was inconceivable for this type of offending to be committed by a teacher."
'Almost daily abuse'
The hearing was told that over the years children complained to the headteacher of being touched by Wotton, but were not believed and even forced to apologise to him.
He was also confronted by the furious parents of his victims - 20 former pupils complained to police - but nothing was done, the court heard.
Prosecutor Joanne Kidd said some of Wotton's victims recalled almost daily abuse.
Wotton was forced to retire in 1980 because of allegations against him, the court was told.
The police began investigating last year when one of his victims came forward amid the publicity surrounding Jimmy Savile's offending.
Miss Kidd said: "Many of the complainants began to feign illnesses and in some cases swallow washing up liquid in order to vomit and avoid having to go to school."