TV weather presenter Fred Talbot, known for his role on the ITV programme “This Morning”, was arrested today following a police investigation into allegations of historic child sexual abuse at Altrincham Grammar School for Boys.
Talbot, aged 63, was a biology teacher at Altrincham Grammar in the 1970s and 1980s. He was arrested today on suspicion of three counts of indecent assault and four counts of inciting a child to commit acts of gross indecency, involving four different children. The incidents apparently did not happen within school grounds but allegedly involved a member of staff at the time. Suspicions of Talbot’s behaviour were first raised to the police in December 2012, and the police raided Talbot’s home later that month while he was away on holiday. Talbot attended a scheduled meeting with the police today, at which point he was brought into custody.
Talbot’s situation, while shocking, is of course far from unique. Indeed his is only the most recent arrest of a teacher in the Greater Manchester area for historic abuse of children in schools. Back in December, police in Manchester began to expand their probe into abuse at other schools in the region. As we blogged about that month, police were investigating a number of allegations of serial sexual abuse of young boys at St Ambrose in Hale Barns, a Catholic School located near Altrincham. Just last month, a 63 year old former teacher at St Ambrose was held by police on suspicion of indecent assault of an ex-pupil and possession of indecent images dating back to the early 1980s. That individual was bailed pending further inquiries.
These are just a handful of many such cases in the Manchester area that have lain hidden for years. Our firm is currently representing a group of men who were sexually assaulted when they attended St Bede’s College in Whalley Range, Manchester in the 1950s and 1960s. These men only recently found the strength to seek justice for how they were treated by administrators and teachers at St Bede’s. While criminal justice is sadly not possible against those perpetrators who have already died, they now seek civil redress for the crimes of each of their abusers, most especially by Monsignor Thomas Duggan, the former Rector of the school and an especially prolific perpetrator.
Talbot is just another in a long line of celebrities to fall under suspicion and police investigation for abusing young children in years past. We can only hope that the extent of his child abuse, fully exposed, did not reach the levels of a man like Jimmy Savile. Like wearing a clerical collar, or being a popular teacher, celebrity is another route by which adults can begin to win the trust of children – and unfortunately abusers can take advantage of this too.