Groping teacher jailed for historic abuse

Date published: 23 October 2014

A FORMER deputy headmaster has been jailed for four years after admitting sexually molesting nine youngsters over 35 years ago.

Grandfather Anthony Kerr (71) and in frail physical and mental health, preyed on the vulnerable boys when he was a teacher at an Oldham school.

Kerr, who later went on to devote his life to the church and became a Church of England priest, carried out the offences over four years from the late 1970s.

Manchester Crown Court heard the circumstances were virtually identical in each case: he called the boys - some as young as seven - to his desk to hear them read for him. then he sat them on his knee and fondled them under their short trousers. If they made a mistake wile reading he would pinch them.

Not even his wife knew he was bisexual, the court heard.

Victims later told police they hadn’t spoken out because they had been frightened of him - though one stood up to him and said he would hit him if he did it again. Kerr ignored the warning and the boy hit him in the face.

Kerr, who later become deputy head at a different school, saw his world start to crash six years ago when he was given a formal caution following an incident in public toilets. In March last year one of his young victims made a complaint to police about the abuse suffered more than three decades earlier.

Another victim also spoke up, and in the wake of the story in the Oldham Chronicle, seven other former pupils followed suit.

Kerr, of Netherlees, Lees, initially denied wrongdoing, saying he thought the men must harbour a grudge. He later admitted the accusations.

In the face of further complaints he pleaded guilty to 10 offences of indecent assault against the first two complainants and in court admitted 14 more offences of indecent assault against the other seven victims.

Jailing him, Judge Timothy Mort said his actions had had a very serious effect on his young victims, and in several cases caused significant problems in their lives.

Judge Mort told Kerr: "These were very serious breaches of trust with children in your care at a time people were reluctant to believe such allegations."

Philip Parry defending, said Kerr had finally expressed his sorrow for what he had done, and accepted that it had been for his own sexual gratification.

Det Cons Sue Chadwick, based at Oldham Public Protection Investigations Unit, said: “Kerr’s shocking and blatant abuse of innocent children has left a lasting scar on all his victims.”