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www.corpun.com   :  Archive   :  2003   :  UK Schools Jun 2003

-- THE ARCHIVE --


UNITED KINGDOM

School CP - June 2003



Corpun file 11640

masthead
Evening Argus, Brighton, 3 June 2003

Coach denies sex assaults on boys

By our news team

A basketball coach says he tapped boys on their backsides to motivate them not but did not spank their bare bottoms for sexual pleasure.

Anthony Awcock, 52, is accused of taking a boy into a changing room during a training session, putting him over his knee, pulling down the child's shorts and underpants and slapping him.

The defendant, of Bentswood Crescent, Haywards Heath, has denied six charges of indecent assault. Five of the offences relate to one boy while the other allegation relates to another youngster.

Awcock told a jury at Lewes Crown Court he had lightly tapped the boys on their backsides as a motivational encouragement or as a joke but he had never struck them on their naked bottoms or to cause pain.

He said patting the bottoms of the team members had become a habit he picked up from playing with American basketball players, where it is common practice to whack each other on the backside. He said it was to motivate the boys and not to punish them.

He said: "I was fairly strict but fair."

Awcock described the two boys who had made allegations against him as being "nice lads" and said he had no explanation for why they were making the accusations.

He said he would never put a child over his knee or take down his underwear.

He said: "It is a pat or tap on the backside. I would never hit a child. I have never taken anybody's shorts or pants down."

Awcock, a former soldier, told the court he had been a coach of men's and boys' teams since he was 21 and had played for teams in Sussex and London.

He had been a professional basketball coach for many years but since the allegations were made last July he has had to give up the work.

The defendant denied there had been any sexual motive for his behaviour or that he had any sexual interest in little boys.

The court heard Awcock was charged with the offences after the boy complained to other team members in July when he was left feeling embarrassed and upset after being hit again.

The child alleges the incidents happened over an 18-month period during training sessions.

The trial continues.

Copyright 2003 Newsquest Media Group - A Gannett Company




Corpun file 11639

masthead
Evening Argus, Brighton, 4 June 2003

Coach cleared of sex assaults

By our news team

A basketball coach accused of smacking a boy on his bare bottom has been cleared by a jury at Lewes Crown Court.

Former soldier Anthony Awcock, 52, of Bentswood Crescent, Haywards Heath, denied six charges of indecent assault.

The jury spent just 30 minutes considering its verdict before acquitting him of all charges yesterday.

Supporters sitting in the public gallery looked relieved as Mr Awcock, a coach for 31 years, walked free from the dock.

The prosecution accused Mr Awcock during a four-day trial of pulling down a 12-year-old boy's shorts and underpants, putting him across his knee and spanking his bare bottom during a training session.

Five of the offences related to the boy, who said he was assaulted during an 18-month period which ended in July last year when he complained to his brother and a friend.

During the trial, the judge had directed the jury to clear Mr Awcock of two of the offences because of lack of evidence.

The other offence related to a 14-year-old boy. He said he had been smacked on the bottom and then his shorts had been lowered to see if there was a mark.

Mr Awcock told the jury he had never smacked any boy's naked bottom.

He had no explanation why the two boys made the accusations against him.

He admitted he had patted the players' bottoms but denied it was for sexual reasons.

He said he had regularly patted their bottoms, always over their clothes, as motivational encouragement or as a joke.

It was a habit he picked up while playing with American basketball players, where it was normal practice to whack each other on the backside.

He said: "It is a pat or a tap on the backside. I would never hit a child.

"I have never taken anybody's shorts or pants down."

Mr Awcock told the jury he had been a professional coach for many years but since the allegations, he had to give up the work.

Copyright 2003 Newsquest Media Group - A Gannett Company




Corpun file 11591

masthead
Belfast Telegraph, Northern Ireland, 27 June 2003

Ulster schools defying slap ban

Anger as church refuses to obey new law

By Kathryn Torney

SEVEN independent schools in Northern Ireland are illegally continuing to physically punish their pupils, it can be revealed today.

The schools, all run by the Free Presbyterian Church, are flouting a new law passed earlier this year banning the use of corporal punishment in independent schools from April 1.

The practice has been outlawed in all grant-aided schools since 1987.

When contacted by the Belfast Telegraph the Rev Ivan Foster, convenor of the Free Presbyterian Education Board, said he was unaware of the change in the law.

But he said it would make no difference to how the schools were run.

"We will simply continue to obey the word of God.

"It does not make any difference to me what men legislate if it is contrary to the word of God."

When asked if the teaching staff would now fear the repercussions of using corporal punishment, he said: "All of our schools will continue to act in accordance with the scriptures and nothing will change as far as we are concerned.

"Having been in prison three or four times, it wouldn't bother me in the slightest if I ended up in prison over this."

Mr Foster was jailed for allegedly taking part in unlawful political protests in 1966, 1969 and "a couple of times" in the mid-80s.

He said it was "a sad day for the nation" when national legislation goes contrary to the teaching of the word of God.

After being contacted by the Telegraph, the Department of Education wrote to all independent schools to ensure they are aware of the new legislation.

A spokeswoman said: "The Department of Education expects all schools to comply with the law.

"Where it is found that a school has acted in an unlawful manner the Department will consider what options are open to it and will act accordingly."

She said the ban on corporal punishment in independent schools was outlined in a press release in February. The Department also issued a circular in March to all interested parties, including proprietors of independent schools, telling them of the new legislation.

Sheri Chamberlain, director of Save the Children Northern Ireland, said: "I am really disappointed that this practice is continuing when the legislation has been passed to ensure that we were no longer the last country in Europe with the physical punishment of children on our statute books.

"I would ask the Department to investigate as necessary."

Nigel Williams, the new Commissioner for Children and Young People, said he did not want to comment.

He added: "I am prepared to look at issues that people bring to me after I take up my post in October."



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