A FORMER teacher has today (Tuesday, December 19) been convicted of 20 sex offences against boys.
Jonathan O’Brien, of Fairfield Road, Bosham, was found guilty of a string of offences while teaching at two private schools – Winterfold House School, near Kidderminster, and The Oratory, near Reading.
John Causer said O’Brien ‘targeted and groomed’ boys of a particular type, normally clever, slim, blond sporty types.
“Pupils had a sense they were being educated, that he was sharing a secret rather than forcing something on them,” said Mr Causer.
“He himself was charming, convivial and attractive outside the school environment – someone who easily dazzled the people that he met.
“It seems from what we will hear that Mr O’Brien was sexually omnivorous, The victims in this case are male but he dated women as well.”
During his four-week trial the court heard O’Brien would have a number of methods of grooming pupils, including exploiting friendships between pupils and ingratiating himself with their families.
Mr Causer said O’Brien would exploit the loneliness of boys whose parents were overseas and were ‘cut off from emotional support’ and ‘religiously blackmail’ the boys.
Jurors heard many of his victims had suffered as a result of the abuse, with psychological consequences for some.
One of them said he was sometimes ‘irrationally violent’. Another said he felt as if he had been a victim ever since, while another suffered sexual confusion later in life.
Police arrested O’Brien at his Bosham home on December 2, 2012.
Throughout the trial he maintained his innocence describing the allegations as ‘preposterous’.
Today, however, a jury at Chichester Crown Court found him guilty of 15 counts of indecent assault on boys and five counts of gross indecency. He was acquitted of two offences of indecent assault.
O’Brien will be sentenced at Chichester Crown Court on February 7.