EXCLUSIVE: RAPE ARRESTS UNCOVERED AS FURTHER ALLEGATIONS MADE OF SEXUAL ABUSE AT FORMER BEMBRIDGE SCHOOL

An Island Echo investigation into claims of historic sexual abuse at Bembridge School has unearthed that 2 men were previously arrested on suspicion of raping a schoolchild, some 15 years after the young victim first tried to report the matter to Police.

As exclusively reported by Island Echo back in April, Hampshire Constabulary has started a criminal investigation looking at whether children at the former private independent school experienced sexual abuse there during the 1980s – entitled Operation Seaside.

Since our first report, further allegations have been disclosed by a former pupil of the boarding school who claims that he was raped by 2 men in positions of authority in the mid-1990s. He was just 15-years-old at the time. The victim, who has bravely spoken out about his ordeal, alleges that he attempted to report the rapes at Newport Police Station the next day but was ‘accused of telling lies’ and ‘threatened with arrest’ for wasting Police time.

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It wasn’t until 2010 – more than 14 years after the alleged attacks – that an official statement was finally taken and arrests were made, brought about by the victim’s mother speaking out and seeking help as her son’s mental health deteriorated.

It has been confirmed to Island Echo by Police that 2 individuals were arrested and questioned on suspicion of rape by Isle of Wight detectives, with both men bailed for a considerable amount of time. However, no charges were ever brought against them due to a lack of concrete evidence. It’s known that 1 of the accused was jailed in the late 90s for a string of sexual assaults and has since been released from prison.

The victim claims he was told in 2011 that it wasn’t in the public interest to prosecute despite assurances it was a strong case – something denied by the Police, who say it was due to the evidence available to them. The Crown Prosecution Service has confirmed that no case was ever put forward to them for consideration.

Now, over a decade after those arrests, Operation Seaside is looking at sexual abuse that may have occurred several years before the alleged 1996 rapes. Despite this new operation, the aforementioned victim has not been contacted by Hampshire Constabulary and was only made aware of the fresh investigation due to Island Echo‘s article back in April.

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It’s thought that several individuals living abroad may also have key information for Police, including a Russian girl who is claimed to have attempted to take her own life whilst at Bembridge before being put on a plane to go home. A ‘survivors’ group has been established online, which prompted Police to launch a portal for information gathering.

Responding to claims that the initial report of the rapes was not logged and taken seriously, a Hampshire Constabulary spokesperson has told Island Echo:

“Hampshire Constabulary takes all allegations of sexual offences very seriously, particularly those involving children or other members of the community who are most at risk.

“Reporting sexual offences takes an enormous amount of courage, and we commend the bravery of survivors who have taken the steps to make an allegation to the police. In all cases, officers seek to provide a compassionate and professional response to victims and to conduct a thorough and appropriate investigation.

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A spokesperson for the Crown Prosecution Service has said:

“The police are responsible for conducting investigations into suspected criminal offences and where they feel it is appropriate to refer a case to the Crown Prosecution Service for consideration they will do so.

“In relation to an investigation into an allegation of rape at Bembridge School in the 1990s, a file was not referred to the CPS to consider.

“We take the prosecution of rapes and serious sexual offences extremely seriously. We are working in collaboration with Hampshire Constabulary and other Forces in the Wessex region (Dorset and Wiltshire) to ensure early engagement and better joint working, as appropriate, to build strong cases for prosecution. We are committed to restoring the confidence of victims in the criminal justice process.

“We would urge anyone who has experienced sexual assault to come forward and report to the police.”

Bembridge School, which taught pupils aged 9-17, closed its doors on 23rd September 1997.

Operation Seaside remains open and investigations are ongoing, but Police have no update to provide on its progress at this time.

Anyone with any information or concerns relating to Bembridge School is encouraged to report these to Police on 101.


If you have experienced non-recent abuse, there is support available:

  • NAPAC is the National Association for People Abused in Childhood. Trained staff speak with survivors of any type of childhood abuse
  • Survivors UK offers a range of support services to men who experienced childhood or adult sexual abuse
  • Rape Crisis England and Wales, provide a directory of local support services
  • Samaritans is available around the clock 365 days of the year to provide confidential emotional support for people who are experiencing feelings of distress or despair

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The views/opinions expressed in these comments are solely those of the author and do not represent those of Island Echo. House rules on commenting must be followed at all times.
11 Comments
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Lady Dunstanding
Lady Dunstanding
1 year ago

Actually, following up leads on sexual abuse of children takes courage. Especially when the local council, certain highly placed police officials, and the local Lodge are all against you. I feel sorry for the coppers who know it’s happening but will never be listened to. Heartfelt concern for victims of officially condoned perverts.

plato
plato
1 year ago

What a vile twisted society we live in.

Very sad.
Very sad.
1 year ago

The article prompted me to look at the Wikipedia entry for the original Bembridge school.
Worth a look, the history is interesting. Sad that it is now tainted.
I hope if any one is guilty of abuse that they are rooted out and dealt with.
Any other victims will hopefully find courage to speak out and name abusers
The majority of people are good and victims need to know that, and they will be listened to.

Clare
Clare
1 year ago

This stinks of Rotherham among other areas in the UK that have deliberately ignored abuse of children, heads should role and pensions stopped, but we all know we live in a corrupt country…

Bay Winner
Bay Winner
Reply to  Clare
1 year ago

Rotherham was dropped because those who can never be ‘blamed’ were involved.

They can only now ever be ‘victims’ not perpetrators of crime.

Lets hope justice is done, but severely doubt it, still more chance if the evil are Brits.

Bojosays?
Bojosays?
1 year ago

I remember a police officer posting up about this sort of thing when he transferred to the island. Something like goodcopdown it was called. I wonder who was in charge for the island police at the time????

fred
fred
1 year ago

Another aspect of sexual inequality that the woke crowd won’t talk about. Men get rapped too. Have been many cases where they police have laughed at them when they tried to report it. I hope the person in the story gets all the support they need and finally get justice.

Confused
Confused
1 year ago

and damn the lack of editing system on here now, where typing mistakes cannot be put right. Whose bright idea was that? My comment should of course read in its final sentence, , “should mean” not Shula mean! God knows where that came from.

Lady Dunstanding
Lady Dunstanding
Reply to  Confused
1 year ago

I think she’s in The Archers.

Confused
Confused
Reply to  Confused
1 year ago

Why was my original comment deleted? There was nothing wrong with it. What has happened to this site? It never used to be like this.

Treesa
Treesa
1 year ago

What a trivialising name for an investigation of rape – ‘Operation Seaside’. I hope it wouldn’t be chosen nowadays. It perhaps shows how it used to be assumed bad things don;t happen here – just a holiday island for the mainland.

 

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