Warning: This article discusses sexual assault.
A former King’s College teacher and housemaster is to spend four years in jail for molesting boys at an elite English school after earlier escaping a prison term.
The top Auckland school is now calling for any former students who experienced or witnessed harm by Paul Dodd to come forward, promising support and cooperation in any police investigation that might unfold.
The 64-year-old history teacher and rugby coach was this month handed down a harsher penalty for sex crimes against three boys aged 10 to 12 when he taught at the prestigious Whitgift School in South London in the 1980s.
Two months ago the convicted paedophile was given a two-year suspended sentence for child cruelty and indecent assault but that was overturned and now he is behind bars serving the first week of a four-year stretch in prison.
Dodd, who shifted to New Zealand in 1988 and eventually became a housemaster at King’s College after he was sacked from the English private school where pupils are charged $90,000-a-year boarding fees and peacocks strut around the lush grounds, admitted to the historical abuse in April.
He pleaded guilty to a charge of child cruelty and two of indecent assault.
The abuse happened in changing sheds and on school trips and included forcing young boys to strip naked, staring at them and touching their genitals.
Today King’s College board of governors chair Shan Wilson said the school had only recently become aware the former teacher had been convicted and sentenced to prison for historical sexual abuse in the UK.
“King’s College encourages any former students who have experienced or witnessed harm by Mr Dodd at the college to come forward to our headmaster Simon Lamb and or the police,” Wilson said.
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“King’s College will support and cooperate with any police investigation that may be commenced.”
She said King’s viewed very seriously what it had learned of the indecent assault of young students.
“King’s wishes to assure its former students that its door is open if they have experienced any such harm from Mr Dodd while at the college.”
Wilson said the school’s pastoral support listening service was also available for anybody who wanted to talk about their own experiences at King’s College.
The college was also sending a statement about the teacher and relevant contact details to past students this afternoon.
History teacher Paul Dodd landed a job at King's College after he was sacked then given a glowing testimony by his previous English school. Photo / King's College
In 1994 it emerged the elite Croydon school’s headmaster, who has since died, had provided Dodd with a glowing reference which helped land him a job at the upmarket Auckland school.
A 60 Minutes documentary examined Dodd taking up a new role in New Zealand while being accused of indecently assaulting a pupil at his previous school.
A subsequent Broadcasting Standards Authority complaint taken against TVNZ by King’s College, which was partially upheld, revealed former headmaster John Taylor knew there was an allegation but the investigation had not finished when he employed Dodd.
He also maintained Dodd was not on the UK banned teacher list when he was given a job at King’s College.
Dodd taught at the college from 1988 to 1994.
Decades later the disgraced teacher was given a two-year suspended jail sentence in July, the judge taking into account his wife’s chronic health condition and the need for him to remain free to care for her.
However, a Court of Appeal hearing this month overturned the sentence after it was challenged as “unduly lenient” by the Attorney General’s Office.
Inside Croydon reported lawyers acting for Dodd’s victims argued survivors of abuse often faced a life sentence and “it was only right that those that inflict these heinous acts should be punished appropriately, and this must include a prison term”.
The Appeal Court found the sentencing judge in July should have imposed a sentence of four years.
He was given until last Friday to surrender to a police station following the decision.
Inside Croydon said the lawyers acting on behalf of the victims discovered through a New Zealand documentary that Dodd had been placed on a Department for Education list prohibiting him from teaching after leaving Whitgift School.
Despite this he was given a “glowing reference” by Whitgift’s headmaster to take up a teaching role in New Zealand.
Details of Dodd’s crimes against the young pupils dating back nearly 40 years were outlined at his sentencing in July at the Gloucester Crown Court.
Convicted child molester Paul Dodd taught history at King's College in Auckland. Photo / Metropolitan Police
The Express said the first incident took place in a changing room where Dodd made a child strip naked after discovering he had worn underpants beneath his rugby shorts instead of swimwear or nothing.
The next crime happened on a school trip when he locked a child wearing a T-shirt and boxer shorts in his room and indecently assaulted him. Another child was molested on another school trip.
When he was confronted by the school, Dodd admitted to the crime but claimed he had done it “as punishment”.
He was suspended from duties and then sacked by the school.
The court heard impact reports detailing the victim’s ongoing anxiety, nightmares and depression after the offending.
But Dodd’s lawyer Sarah Jenkins told the court he had shown remorse and was very mindful about how any jail sentence would impact his wife and her medical condition.
The appeals court heard the original sentencing judge was driven by concern for the welfare of the offender’s wife.
This ended up tipping the balance towards a suspended sentence rather than imposing a sentence that reflected the “totality of the offending”, Lord Justice William Davis told the court.
Where to get help:
If it's an emergency and you feel that you or someone else is at risk, call 111.
If you've ever experienced sexual assault or abuse and need to talk to someone, contact Safe to Talk confidentially, any time 24/7:
• Call 0800 044 334
• Text 4334
• Email [email protected]
• For more info or to web chat visit safetotalk.nz
Alternatively contact your local police station - click here for a list.
If you have been sexually assaulted, remember it's not your fault.
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