Aldenham BREAKING HERTFORDSHIRE

A former secondary school teacher has been given a 15-year prison sentence for sexually assaulting nine young boys in a campaign of abuse that began more than 50 years ago

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Anthony Shenton, of Church Lane, Aldenham, appeared at St Albans Crown Court for sentencing after being found guilty of four offences following a four-day trial. 

On Friday 20 August he was found guilty by jury of two indecent assaults on a child, one offence of buggery and one offence of indecency with a child in the 1970s and 1980s. 

The 82 year old had previously pleaded guilty to 15 counts – 10 counts of indecent assault and five counts of gross indecency – which relate to offences against seven of his male pupils between 1968 and 1984.

The court heard how Shenton – known as Tony – taught design technology and games respectively at Langleybury School in Hunton Bridge between the mid-1960s to the early 1990s, before it eventually closed in 1996. 

The victims were all aged between 11 and 15 when they were targeted by Shenton. The abuse occurred in several different locations, including Shenton’s flat in Abbots Langley and an apartment in the school grounds, as well as during after school clubs, school canoeing and skiing trips. 

Detective Constable Liz McGrath, from Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Historic Child Abuse Investigation Unit (HCAIU), said: “Shenton used his position of trust to groom and sexually exploit young boys for his own gratification. Some of the victims said their teacher acknowledged that his actions were wrong at the time, but despite this he still continued his offending. 

“Though Shenton has acknowledged his guilt for some of the offences it will never make up for his depraved actions, the impact of which the victims have had to carry their whole lives. They were left confused by the advances of their teacher, who took advantage of them when they were vulnerable. 

“I can only imagine the courage it has taken the victims to step forward and give evidence about what happened to them all those years ago, but their bravery has meant Shenton has finally had to face up to what he has done.

“We take all reports of sexual abuse extremely seriously in Hertfordshire and will do all we can to achieve justice for victims of this devastating crime, however much time has passed.”

Her Honour Judge Caroline Wiggin, who sentenced Shenton, told the former teacher that he was ‘calculating and predatory’.

The judge also commended the victims’ bravery and acknowledged the significant impact that Shenton’s offending has had on them all.

In addition, she awarded DC McGrath a commendation for the excellent victim care the investigating officer provided throughout what was a complex and protracted investigation.

If you are a victim of non-recent or recent sexual abuse and would like to report it, but don’t feel comfortable speaking directly to police, you can contact Hertfordshire’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) in the first instance.

The centre can arrange face-to-face support, sexual health referrals, and provide forensic medical examinations for those who want them.