VICTIMS of one of Northern Ireland’s most notorious sex offenders, former Bangor vice-principal Lindsay Brown, have had their pursuit of justice denied by his death.
Brown, who passed away last week, abused boys at Bangor Grammar School over three decades and served two separate prison sentences.
The Spectator has learned that at least five new historical cases were being investigated by police, including one in Scotland, which will all now end following the death of the 83 year-old.
The disgraced father of one was imprisoned for seven years in 1998 for a catalogue of abuse against boys at Bangor Grammar between 1968 and 1982, and for a further eight months for similar offences in 2021.
At the time of his sentencing back in 1998, Crown Court Judge Peter Gibson described the then 57 year-old Brown as ‘evil’ and a ‘danger to young boys’ after a lengthy three week trial.
One of the Brown’s victims from the latest series of investigations, said he believed the latest allegations were ‘the tip of the iceberg’ but said the ‘cogs of justice’ had been ‘painfully slow’ after he made his complaint four years ago.
The man explained he was abused by the former teacher when he was a 10 year -pupil at Bangor Grammar School’s Connor House preparatory department.
Reacting to Brown’s death he said: “It is just disappointment, all those people who submitted complaints to the police, it really is the tip of iceberg.”
He said it is clear that Brown’s abuse of boys at the grammar school was an ‘open secret’ among pupils for decades.
The man recalled how he became one of Brown’s victims during a school trip in England.
“My incident happened when I was a pupil at Connor House and he was temporary headmaster when Conor House was in between headmasters. There was a school trip to England, to which his wife and daughter came, and that’s where the incident happened.”
Of his decision to come forward and make a complaint to police in 2019, he said: “You get to an age and your kids reach the same age as I was back then. I thought if I don’t say something what else can he get up to? He was holding on to his big fat pension and living in France – justice needs to be served.”
Expressing his frustration that Brown would not be held to account for these latest allegations, he said: “Now I wish that I had raised it sooner.”
The victim said it was ‘absolutely appalling’ that action had not been taken sooner by the school to remove Brown from his role as vice-principal and housemaster.
He said: “Bangor Grammar School is a completely different place where those things just couldn’t happen now but I think it is absolutely appalling that it was allowed to happen. Whenever the incidents and complaints were made in the 1980s he was kept in position and advanced by the school.”
Following Brown’s 1998 conviction, an independent inquiry strongly criticised the school for its handling of complaints of sexual abuse against Brown. The official report condemned the school saying management tried to treat allegations in a ‘low key manner and to minimise their significance’.
The independent inquiry found the school had been ‘seriously at fault’ for not having arrangements to deal with child sexual abuse incidents but absolved the school from blame for Brown’s ‘aberrant and criminal behaviour’.
Said Brown’s victim: “There was a lot of negativity in the report in the 1990s, it is appalling. It was a bit of an old boys’ club and he was facilitated by the school and put in a position of taking swimming lessons and school trips.
“When you look back it is just shocking, it was an open secret, everybody knew he was dodgy. How he could have been made responsible for child protection within the school is just appalling.”