Former maths teacher convicted of indecent assaults on teenagers

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The former head of maths at St Colmans College in Newry has been convicted of indecently assaulting five girls and a boy he was privately tutoring.

The Downpatrick Crown Court jury of seven women and five men deliberated for three hours and 40 minutes over two days before finding 75-year-old Patrick Carton unanimously guilty on 28 counts of indecent assault and by a majority decision of 11 to one on a further count of indecent assault, all of which were committed on various dates between February 17 1983 and June 30 2007.

Carton, from Marguerite Close in Newcastle and who taught at St Colman’s and De La Salle in Downpatrick, remained impassive in the dock as the damning verdicts were announced.

Trial Judge Brian Sherard adjourned passing sentence to April 27 by which time a pre-sentence probation report will have been written on the convicted paedophile who was freed on continuing bail but ordered to sign the police sex offenders’ register before he left the courthouse.

During the course of the seven-week trial the jury heard similar testimony from each of the six victims – each of them teenagers at the time of the abuse – that Carton tutored them in maths in their bedrooms and that he had a “star system” of discipline.

The jury heard evidence that three stars serves “as a warning,” four resulted in a smack, five stars got a smack over underwear and six stars meant the pupil was smacked on his or her bare bottom.

The victims have evidence that, on occasions, Carton instructed them to lie in their bed where he smacked them but that in other incidents, they were “put across” Carton’s knee.

One of the females repeatedly assaulted by Carton told the jury she had repeatedly told Carton to stop but that it was “very hard” for a teenager to challenge a then 50-year-old man.

She said that when he first told her of his methods she was “shocked” and thought her tutor was “joking”.

“I told him I didn’t want to get smacked. I didn’t like it. It was not right,” she said.

“He said this would make me pass my maths. It would make my parents proud.”

She outlined how, when she was in lower sixth and before she got her A-level results, the abuse escalated to sexual touching with Carton telling her it was her “award” for doing well in her lessons.

One woman gave emotional testimony of how the abuse she suffered had “ruined” her life, while other victims told the court how they remembered their tears falling on to their work sheets and how the smacking left them unable to concentrate.

The male victim recounted how Carton pulled his pants down to smack him while being taught maths at his home in the 1980s, describing one specific incident where he had to “fight him off with his pants around his ankles” because Carton would not stop hitting him.

During his police interviews Carton told police the various families had asked him to tutor their children through “word of mouth”, claiming that he did not smack the children to punish but in his mind it was to challenge the children and had always been done with the parents’ consent.

He denied gaining any sexual gratification or any criminal wrongdoing, telling police it was “the most effective method” that led to “the best results”.