School to pay six-figure compensation to ex-pupil molested by teacher

The attack occurred in 1990 at Aberlour House in Elgin.

Moray school Aberlour House to pay ex-pupil John Findlay six-figure compensation  for sexual assault by teacher Walkers Shortbread
John Findlay now suffers from PTSD, depression and anxiety - the settlement will help pay for 'specialist help'.

A man who was sexually assaulted by a teacher as a pupil at a Moray boarding school has been granted a six-figure pay out.

John Findlay was 12 years old when he was sexually assaulted by the staff member at Aberlour House in Elgin.

Now 44, he gave evidence recently at a Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry detailing the aftermath of the attack.

He explained how he now suffers from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and anxiety as a result of the assault.

John, 44, was determined to seek justice. John Findlay
John, 44, was determined to seek justice.

The incident occurred in 1990, when Mr Findlay was drugged by a teacher who then entered his dormitory and sexually assaulted him, while photographing the entire ordeal. He was completely unable to move or speak, but remained conscious throughout.

After the incident, he complained – but his family was persuaded not to seek criminal action with reassurances that the attacker would never teach again.

Mr Findlay later became determined to seek justice after learning his abuser went on to teach elsewhere and abused more young victims.

The school has now admitted guilt in the incident, and will pay him an undisclosed six-figure amount as compensation.

Mr Findlay said: “My victory against Aberlour House is an important admission of liability on behalf of the school and will act as a warning to institutions tempted to cover up for abusers in their midst. 

“I hope it also shows other victims that it is still possible to stand up and be counted many years later.

“It is well recognised that many children who have suffered abuse hide their experiences until they can no longer conceal their true feelings. No-one should have to suffer in silence.”

He added that he hopes his case offers reassurance to other survivors of sexual assault that “there is light at the end of the tunnel”.

John met his wife Alla Popova at school.John Findlay
John met his wife Alla Popova at school.

Thorntons Solicitors began pursuing his case against Aberlour House in 2018.

Personal injury solicitor, Danny McGinn, who led the claim said: “Mr Findlay has lived with severe psychological injuries because of what happened to him, affecting his life in so many ways. His settlement will allow him to get the specialist help that he needs and that will make a huge difference to his life. 

“Mr Findlay’s success shows that the passage of time need not be a barrier to justice. Changes to the legal time limit and introduction of the Redress scheme have made it possible for survivors to pursue claims even after many years.

“With these changes, and with the examples of brave people like Mr Findlay I expect that we will see more survivors coming forward to confront those responsible.”