A retired teacher who sexually assaulted young boys at the school where he taught for nearly 20 years was jailed for 15 years today.
Paedophile Anthony Shenton preyed on the youngsters at the secondary school after their parents had entrusted them into his care.
From the 1960s through to the 1980s he abused the youngsters who were aged between 12 and 14 at his flat and while on school adventure trips involving canoeing, camping, rock climbing and mountaineering
Today (Weds) when Judge Caroline Wiggin jailed 82-year-old Shenton at St Albans crown court, she told him: “You personified adventure and you were idolised by the boys and you manipulated and used that.”
The judge said what he had done to the boys over the years at Langlebury School in In Kings Langley, Herts was “a gross breach of trust.”
Judge Wiggin said Shenton knew his victims would not complain because they wanted to go on the trips.
But she said another reason had been the attitudes of the time.
“You knew that boys would not come forward because at that time in the 1970s there was perceived to be a shame in being the victim of sexual assaults.”
The judge said she wanted to make it clear that his young victims were not to blame for what had happened to them.
As a result of what Shenton had done to the boys, the judge said their lives had been blighted by stress problems and anger issues.
Boys, she said, had not achieved what was expected of them academically, they had been left confused about their sexuality and one victim found himself nervous in the company of older men,
One had contemplated suicide years later, another had suffered a mini stroke which he linked to the stress caused by the teacher, said the judge and another had needed therapy.
She said one of the victims has turned to alcohol in later years.
Leicestershire born Shenton arrived at secondary school in Hunton Bridge, Kings Langley, Herts in 1966. It was his first teaching post.
He taught craft, design and technology lessons as well as metal work and sports
With a keen interest in outdoor pursuits like mountaineering and canoeing, he also ran after school clubs for pupils and organised school trips for young boy pupils which involved camping.
There were trips to the Boat Show at London’s Earls Court and other exhibitions promoting outdoor activities.
The court heard it was through these activities Shenton groomed the boys.
Over the years individual boys would visit him at his flat, first in Abbots Road in Abbots Langley and later at the “grace and favour” flat he had in grounds of the school in a former stable block.
He would cook for the boys, they would watch TV and chat, but it was all part of Shenton’s grooming process to carry out sickening assaults on them.
They ended up sitting on his lap and touching began before he fondled them and committed sex act on them and encouraged them to fondle him.
Shenton of Church Lane, Aldenham appeared for sentence today (Weds) in custody having been found guilty last Friday (Aug 20) at the end of a three day trial of four offences of indecent assault on a male person, one offence of buggery on a youngster and indecency with a child.
He also pleaded guilty to 10 offences of indecent assault on a male person and five offences of indecency with a child involving seven other boys
The offences covered a period from 1968 to 1984
His victims had been young boys and today three of them – now middle aged men – sat in court to see Shenton sentenced. Two others watched the proceeding via a video link.
Langleybury School closed down in the 1990s and over the years what happened was shrouded in secrecy.
In 1996 one of the victims had spoken to police about Shenton and what he had done, but eventually no action was taken.
Prosecutor Isobel Delamere said all that changed in in 2019 when messages were posted on a social media platform by a former pupil at the school asking if anyone could remember Shenton.
The court victims subsequently came forward and spoke out and as a result the police became involved once more.
In court last week at Shenton’s trial, one victim now a 60-year-old said he remembered Shenton always had a “clique of boys around him” at the school.
Defending Alisdair Smith told the court: “He has no family whatsoever, no family crutch on which he can lean on in respect of his imprisonment
Judge Wiggin told Shenton he would have to serve a minimum of half of the 15 years sentence behind bars, before he is eligible for parole.