A former teacher at Britain’s oldest school plied a pupil with alcohol before asking him to sit in his lap while aroused and encouraged him to watch pornography, a misconduct panel heard.
Martin Miles, who retired in September 2020 after spending 40 years at the King’s School Canterbury was found guilty of professional misconduct by a Teaching Regulation Agency panel last week.
The panel heard that Miles, now in his late 60s, had tried to sexually touch the pupil in the bath and on another occasion had pulled down his trousers ‘for punishment’ with the panel concluding that he had acted ‘for his own sexual gratification.’
They stated: ‘There was no other reason for this behaviour from a teacher to a pupil other than seeking a sexual relationship.’
Thousands of pupils at Britain’s oldest school have been been encouraged to come forward if they ‘require support’ following the investigation by the TRA.
The former housemaster taught German and music at the school and at the time of his retirement was the longest serving member of staff on the payroll.
Playwright Christopher Marlowe, War Horse author Michael Morpurgo and physician William Harvey are among the school’s most notable former pupils.
During the hearing against Miles, the panel accepted all but one of Pupil A’s allegations as fact, despite Miles’ denial that his behaviour was sexually motivated.
Charing the panel, Mona Sood described how Miles had ‘discussed interests of a sexual nature with Pupil A, inviting him to have sexual contact with him and encouraging him to undress’.
It heard that after a drunken friend’s birthday, Pupil A had returned to his boarding house and thrown up and wet himself.
Finding him in this state, Miles took him to his own private bathroom, told him to undress and ran him a bath.
Whilst bathing, Pupil A said Miles had re-entered the room and tried to touch his genitals.
Miles had claimed that the school infirmary refused to deal with such situations – however another former housemaster testifying at the hearing said that in that situation, he would have woken another pupil up to help instead.
The panel found the allegation to be true.
Pupil A also how told how upon arriving back to the house late one night, Miles had become angry and offered him an official punishment or one of his own devising.
After requesting an official punishment, Pupil A said Miles asked him to pull down his trousers.
Pupil A then alleged Miles had placed his hands on his bottom before trying to sexually touch him which the panel found supported their conclusion that Miles was guilty of a pattern of behaviour outside the boundaries of a student-teacher relationship.
Miles had tried to reason that his relationship with the pupil stemmed from the fact that Pupil A felt he wasn’t able to talk to his parents about sex.
Pupil A said that on one occasion they had discussed sexuality and that he had told his teacher we ‘wasn’t interested in older men’.
Miles admitted using sexual innuendo in jokes made with the victim but denied showing Pupil A porn on a CD.
He denied an allegation that he had once given the pupil alcohol before stroking his hair and asking him to sit on his lap, saying: ‘If I had [been aroused] I never would have wanted Pupil A to know about it. It would have been very embarrassing.’
The panel did not find Pupil A’s assertion that Miles had peeped through his keyhole while he was having sex with his girlfriend to be proven.
Pupil A told the hearing he had raised Miles’ behaviour with him at the time but that Miles did not pass them on to school bosses.
The school was not aware of the allegations until May 2020, when a friend of Pupil A emailed the school.
An investigation was then launched against Miles, with three former pupils as well as Miles interviewed, reports KentOnline.
In a letter to students seen by MailOnline, the school’s first female head Jude Lowson stressed that ‘as soon as the school became aware of the allegations [it] reported them to all relevant agencies’ but ‘apologised.’
She said: ‘We wholeheartedly apologise, and our hearts go out, to those who have been affected.
‘I understand that this may be distressing for you to read, especially if you were at the School at the time that Martin Miles taught here.
‘In the circumstances, we felt it was important that our alumni should know about the panel’s decision.’
The King’s School also has a junior school and international college with 1,300 pupils attending them, 70% of which are registered as boarders.
In order to board at the school, parents pay an eye-watering £14,830 per term, equating to over £40,000 a year.
According to King’s School, its ‘origins find their roots in the monastic school founded by St Augustine, subsequent to his mission of 597AD’.
It was later re-founded by Henry VIII in 1541.
Barrister Gurpreet Rheel, represting Miles, said: ‘Mr Miles thanks the panel but respectfully disagrees with their findings, particularly in regard to the motivations of Pupil A.
‘However he appreciates their close attention to the case. It has been difficult for Mr Miles to process.
‘Given his impeccable record of teaching before these allegations, he will look back fondly on his many years of teaching.
‘He is now approaching 70 and has no intention of returning to teaching.’
A spokesperson for the school said: ‘We are deeply saddened and shocked by this case, which involves a former member of staff and events which took place in the 1990s.
‘We wholeheartedly apologise to those who have been affected and are offering our full support.
‘As soon as we were made aware of the allegations, we reported them to all relevant agencies and we have worked closely with them throughout, carefully following their advice. Alongside this, with the approval of these authorities we also engaged an independent safeguarding expert to conduct a full investigation.
‘Keeping our pupils safe is our top priority and we take our safeguarding responsibilities extremely seriously.
‘While there can never be room for complacency, safeguarding procedures at the school today are robust, rigorous and regularly reviewed to ensure they continue to be in line with enhanced best practice and national standards, with staff receiving regular safeguarding training.’
Detective Chief Inspector Ian Wadey of Kent Police’s Protecting Vulnerable People Command said: ‘We do not underestimate the severe impact sexual offences have on victims and understand that sometimes they feel unable to speak about the crimes committed against them.
‘It is unfortunately not always possible to progress a criminal investigation when a victim has not reported an offence or disclosed their identity, as without their testimony or any other evidence there is often no realistic prospect of bringing the case to court.
‘On such occasions Kent Police will still record the alleged offences and engage with any relevant partners to ensure any appropriate safeguarding measures are in place.’