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West Sussex teacher sentenced for sexual offences against school children

A former West Sussex teacher has been sentenced for sexual offences against a boy he taught during the 1990s.

Jonathan O’Brien, 61, formerly of Bosham, West Sussex was sentenced at Guildford Crown Court on Friday (24 May) having pleaded guilty to two counts of indecent assault during 1992 when he worked at Seaford College near Petworth, West Sussex, where the boy then in his mid-teens was a pupil at the time.

He was sentenced to a total of 30 months imprisonment, to run concurrently with a previously imposed sentence of 13 years for separate offences, not involving Seaford College

The prosecution, authorised by the CPS, followed an investigation by detectives from the West Sussex Safeguarding Investigations Unit.

Two other counts of indecent assault on the same boy, to which O’Brien pleaded not guilty, were not proceeded with by the prosecution and will lay on the court file.

Police emphasise that the school has provided full co-operation during this investigation and that the events concerned are completely unconnected with the current or recent management of the school or pupils.

PC Yvonne Daddow said: “This offending came to light when the victim contacted us for the first time in 2017. Having courageously come forward he supported our investigation and was ready to give evidence in court if necessary.

“It became clear that O’Brien had used an allegedly mutual interest in computers to in effect gradually ‘groom’ the boy into sexual activity, in O’Brien’s study at the school and his home in Oxfordshire. The boy kept the distressing experiences to himself for more than 20 years until a chance family discussion to some media coverage on the general subject of sexual offending triggered him into coming forward.

“This case is another example of the way in which we will always take such reports seriously, no matter how long ago they relate to and will seek to help achieve justice for victims wherever possible.

O’Brien is already serving a 13-year sentence imposed at Chichester Crown Court in May 2014 following an investigation by West Mercia Police into similar offences against boys at schools where he taught in Worcestershire and Oxfordshire between 1980 and 1989.