A former pupil at Aberlour House who was subjected to sexual abuse from a teacher has been granted more than £100,000 in a “landmark” compensation claim.
John Findlay was 12 years old when he was sexually assaulted by a staff member at Aberlour House on Speyside.
Mr Findlay recently gave evidence to the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry detailing his endured abuse.
Now 44, he explained how he suffers from clinically severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and anxiety as a result of the assault.
Aberlour House was a prep school for Gordonstoun on the outskirts of the village with the same name. The schools were legally separate at the time but have since merged.
The incident occurred in 1990 when Mr Findlay was drugged by a teacher who then entered his dormitory and sexually assaulted him.
During the ordeal, he was unable to move or speak but was fully conscious of the attack – which the teacher also photographed.
After the incident, Mr Findlay’s family was persuaded not to seek criminal action with reassurances that the attacker would never teach again.
‘No one should have to suffer in silence’
Mr Findlay later became determined to seek justice after learning his abuser went on to teach elsewhere and abused more young victims.
He said: “My victory against Aberlour House Ltd is an important admission of liability on behalf of the school and will act as a warning to institutions tempted to cover up for abusers in their midst.
“I hope it also shows other victims that it is still possible to stand up and be counted many years later. It is well recognised that many children who have suffered abuse hide their experiences until they can no longer conceal their true feelings. No one should have to suffer in silence.”
The former Gordonstoun student has thanked Thorntons Solicitors for its “unswerving support and determination” to bring forward his sexual abuse claim.
“I hope my case reassures people that there is light at the end of the tunnel and it gives others the confidence to speak out,” he added.
Thorntons Solicitors began pursuing his case against Aberlour House in 2018.
Personal injury solicitor, Danny McGinn, who led the claim, said: “Mr Findlay has lived with severe psychological injuries because of what happened to him, affecting his life in so many ways. His settlement will allow him to get the specialist help that he needs and that will make a huge difference to his life.
“Mr Findlay’s success shows that the passage of time need not be a barrier to justice. Changes to the legal time limit and the introduction of the Redress scheme have made it possible for survivors to pursue claims even after many years.
“With these changes, and with the examples of brave people like Mr Findlay I expect that we will see more survivors coming forward to confront those responsible.”