Former East Grinstead teacher accused of rape of young pupil
A FORMER teacher took a schoolgirl to a chapel where she was subjected to a gang rape, a court has heard.
Bernard Haunch, 72, is alleged to have raped and sexually assaulted a girl and indecently assaulted a boy while he was a teacher at an East Grinstead school.
He is on trial at Lewes Crown Court this week, accused of 16 sex offences against the two children, which are alleged to have taken place in the 1970s and 80s.
Richard Barton, prosecuting, told the court last Thursday that between 1975 and 1983 Haunch systematically abused the girl and the boy, and had "throughout his adult life been a paedophile, who used his position as a senior teacher at the school to have sexual contact with young, prepubescent children".
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The children, both of whom were 7 to 11 years old when the assaults are said to have occurred, were allegedly lured to Haunch's flat where they were repeatedly abused, jurors heard.
Mr Barton described how, soon after the girl's arrival at the school, Haunch, who now lives in Sutton, south London, approached her mother claiming her daughter needed additional lessons.
"It's the Crown's case that this was a lie that he used as a pretext, as a ruse to allow him to take the girl up to his room so she was able to repeatedly visit him on her own," said Mr Barton.
"It's the Crown's case that at no stage did he give her extra tuition. Instead, over the months and years, he gradually groomed her.
"He offered praise, rewards and treats to ensure that the abused child did not reveal to people what was going on, saying he would kill her family."
The abuse, the prosecution said, moved on to sexually motivated games consisting of extreme sexual acts where Haunch indecently assaulted and raped the girl, partially suffocating her at least once.
In one incident he is claimed to have tied the young girl to a bed using rope and taped her mouth shut.
These acts, the court heard, culminated when Haunch took the girl to a chapel where a group of men raped her. Mr Barton said Haunch then comforted her with a warm drink afterwards.
Haunch denies 14 charges of abusing the girl, including five counts of rape, eight counts of indecent assault and aiding and abetting rape. He is also accused of two charges of indecent assault on the boy.
He has already pleaded guilty to one indecent assault on the boy and one charge of indecency with the boy.
Police were not informed of any allegations against Haunch until the female victim, now in her 40s, reported the alleged offences in 2011, the court heard.
This was despite Haunch being sacked by the school in 1983, said Mr Barton, for writing a letter to the parents of the schoolboy in which he described his love for their son.
Haunch was arrested on February 14, 2011 and taken to Crawley Police Station.
A custody officer said when the defendant heard the alleged victim's name there was an audible gasp, said Mr Barton.
Referring to the two alleged victims, Mr Barton told the jury: "It beggars belief that these two should have fabricated lies.
"They are compelling individually and when you put them together they make an overwhelming case against the defendant. He was, in fact, a predatory paedophile while working as a teacher of the school."
The trial continues.