Abuse survivor awarded £1m after being accused of ‘grooming’ school teacher

August 18th, 2020

A concern for many abuse survivors when coming forward is the counterclaims/allegations that will be made against them. The recent outcome of an abuse case against Haringey Council will hopefully mitigate some survivor’s concerns.

James, who was sexually abused as a child, confided in his school teacher Andrew Adams at Highgate Wood School when he was 13. Adams told him that the rape proved he was gay, and that everyone would hate him but he would be his friend. Adams proceeded to sexually abuse James for years. 

The abuse took place in numerous places, such as the school changing rooms, the gym and the school bus. Adams also abused James in the home he shared with his mother. The abuse and sexual activity continued until James was 21.

Following two breakdowns in his job in IT, James sought help, where he disclosed his abuse to a Psychiatrist. James then went to the police.

During the court case, Adams accused James of grooming him.

In an interview with the BBC James said “the idea that I, as a 13-year-old pre-pubescent boy, could somehow instigate or groom a 35-year-old teacher – I was shocked. All I could do was deny it.”

The Court of Appeal roundly accepted his case that it was impossible for him to consent to sexual activity with his teacher, given the background of manipulation and grooming he had already been subject to. James was awarded £1m and Andrew Adams was sentenced to 12 years in prison, which was later reduced to 8 years on appeal.

This case result is reassuring for other survivors who may be concerned about these kinds of arguments from professional defendants like Haringey Council or people like Andrew Adams. The Courts are rightly protecting the vulnerable who have been subjected to grooming and control, and acknowledging the severity of abuse in the level of compensation made.

If you, or a loved one has been affected by sexual abuse whether recently or in your childhood and would like to talk about your legal rights, please contact our team of specialist historic abuse lawyers. We are able to explain your options and discuss whether it is possible for you to obtain financial redress.

Contact the specialist Historic Abuse team at Verisona Law on 02392 98 1000 or email connect@verisonalaw.com today.