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Former Sutton Valence School pupil settles claim for sexual abuse by teacher

A man who reported being sexually abused in the 1980s by Kent teacher and school chaplain, Rev David Barnes, has settled his legal claim against prestigious Sutton Valence boarding school who have agreed to offer an apology.

Posted on 20 November 2023

Mr Barnes was chaplain at Sutton Valence School near Maidstone, Kent, between 1975 and 1987, and was a parish priest until 2001. He died in 2012 without ever being questioned by the police about abuse allegations.

The man who reported being abused by Mr Barnes when he was a pupil at Sutton Valence instructed Dino Nocivelli, abuse claims partner at law firm Leigh Day, to bring a civil case.

He wanted an acknowledgment that the abuse had taken place and that it was wrong.
Without a criminal conviction it was difficult to prove the abuse had taken place. However, the Leigh Day abuse claims team carried out extensive research and were able to speak to a significant number of men who also alleged sexual abuse by Mr Barnes. Others reported that Mr Barnes’ depraved acts were public knowledge at the school.

After a period of discussions with the Sutton Valence school legal team a settlement was agreed,  including compensation for the pain and suffering that the man continues to endure as a result of his abuse, along with the need for further therapy. The school also agreed to offer an apology.

The case settled without a confidentiality clause or gagging order, but the man has chosen to retain his anonymity to protect his personal life and his family.

Dino Nocivelli, who represented the man, said:

“The conclusion of this case and the disclosures of others who suffered abuse at the hands of Rev  Barnes has given my client a sense of closure and he now intends to use his compensation to help other abuse survivors.”

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