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Sentencing of Paul Dodd for child sexual abuse committed at Whitgift School

Abuse claims specialist Dino Nocivelli discusses the recent sentencing of Paul Dodd for sexual abuse committed while teaching at Whitgift School. Dino explains why he believes that Dodd’s suspended sentence was unduly lenient.

Posted on 03 August 2023

It understandably takes a lot for an abuse survivor to feel able to disclose their abuse, let alone to report the abuse to the police and to then proceed to the conclusion of a criminal case.  When an abuser has admitted the abuse or been found guilty, society expects that due punishment will be applied for the crimes that have been committed and this includes a prison term.

I have recently been instructed to investigate child sexual abuse by teacher Paul Dodd at Whitgift School who taught History and coached rugby alongside other sports. Dodd has recently admitted sexually assaulting three boys at the school who were aged between 10 and 12 in the 1980s. At at Gloucester Crown Court on 14 July 2023 he received a suspended prison sentence of two years in addition to a rehabilitation programme, unpaid work and being placed on a sexual harm prevention order for seven years. It is reported that the judge took into account that Dodd is his wife’s sole carer and it was “for that reason alone” that his sentence has been suspended.

My clients think that the sentence applied was unduly lenient and that it should be reconsidered as the sentence does not reflect the seriousness of the crime. It is for this reason that they have sent a request to the Attorney General under the unduly lenient sentence scheme and we hope that a revised sentence is soon handed down. Survivors of abuse often face a life sentence in respect of the impact of their abuse, and it is only right that those that inflict these heinous acts should be punished appropriately, and this must include a prison term.

While we await the Attorney General's decision and potentially a review from the Court of Appeal, I shall continue with the civil cases against the school for the abuse inflicted by Dodd. 

It has come to our knowledge through a New Zealand documentary that Dodd was placed on a list prohibiting him from teaching after leaving Whitgift School, while apparently the Whitgift headmaster gave him a 'glowing reference' to take up a teaching role in New Zealand. 

If anyone has any information about Paul Dodd and abuse at Whitgift School then please contact me: dnocivelli@leighday.co.uk or 020 7650 1397.

Update: In a further hearing on Thursday 21 September 2023, Paul Dodd's sentence was found to be unduly lenient. The initial sentence was quashed and a new four year custodial sentence given.

Dino said:

"I am glad that we were able to support our clients with this issue and that Dodd has finally been punished for sexually assaulting my clients. Justice has been delayed for far too long but it has now finally been served."

*This blog was updated on 21/9/23

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Dino Nocivelli

Dino is an experienced child sexual abuse claims lawyer

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