CHOIRMASTER AND ‘MONSTER’

A former choir master branded a ‘monster’ by five pupils he molested at a boarding school 20 years ago was jailed for four and a half years.

Stephen Douglas-Hogg, 50, taught classics at the prestigious St Paul’s Cathedral Choir School while he was carrying out the sexual abuse in the 1980s.

The housemaster admitted 13 counts of indecent assault on the five boys, all under the age of 14, four days into a ten day trial.

The teacher controlled the boys’ daily activities through fear, supervising their bath times and creeping into their dormitories in the middle of the night.

His victims had described him as ‘schizophrenic’ and a ‘sexually misguided lunatic’.

Douglas-Hogg admitted 13 of the 17 charges of indecent assault after watching one victim break down while giving evidence by video link from Los Angeles.

The man had told Southwark Crown Court he lived in a ‘Jekyll and Hyde world.’

He said: ‘Our lives were pretty much governed by the housemaster and there was very little outside influence.

‘Any activities going on inside the school were very closed and it was claustrophobic in many ways.

‘The behaviour of Mr Douglas-Hogg went on unnoticed by many people and he was pretty much able to act freely, almost like the school was his kingdom and we were pretty much powerless to do anything about it.’

The 35-year-old said many parents were deceived by the cravat-wearing teacher.

‘But for us boys, I would say he was a mixture of manipulative, demanding, bullying and often schizophrenic,’ he added.

‘It was like a Jekyll and Hyde scenario.

‘When there were no parents or headmaster around he was like a monster.’

The classics teacher would frequently visit the boys’ bedrooms after lights out and fondle them in their pyjama bottoms.

One man, who was 12 at the time, was touched at least once a week by Douglas-Hogg and would often be invited into the master’s bedroom.

The boys would look on him as a ‘father figure’ but in reality he was grooming them for sex, prosecutor Timothy Devlin told the court.

The choirmaster would select a group of ‘favourite’ boys to wash in a separate bathroom and would often join in, the court was told.

Mr Devlin said: ‘Mr Douglas-Hogg would supervise the chosen boys and direct how they would wash themselves and wash them himself with a flannel, taking care to wash their private parts himself and then dry them with a towel.

‘That happened about three times a week.’

Douglas-Hogg was ‘obsessed’ with masturbating and held classes for some of the boys, said the prosecutor.

‘Mr Douglas-Hogg seemed to be obsessed as to whether these boys were masturbating.

‘He even held masturbating classes for some of them.

‘All the boys discussed it and some tried it out.’

This even took place in the school’s chapel on one occasion.

The former football coach would force his team to play without underwear on and pull open their shorts before the game to check they were naked, the court heard.

The team captain then had the ‘privilege’ of changing with Douglas-Hogg and was asked to comment on the size of his penis.

Douglas-Hogg was sacked from the school in 1989 but a police investigation was dropped.

He was not then arrested again until January 2008 when he was charged with 17 counts of indecent assault towards five former pupils.

Douglas-Hogg, of (18) South Crescent Close, Filey, North Yorkshire, admitted 13 counts of indecent assault and four remaining charges were dropped.

Describing the anguish of one particular victim’s family, Judge Gledhill told Douglas-Hogg: ‘Like so many parents who at the time believed they were providing their children with an amazing opportunity, they now realise they have been left with confused, bitter and resentful memories that will last for the rest of their lives.

‘Your actions have come close to wrecking his adult life.

‘The complainants are all now in their mid thirties.

‘The horror lives with them.’

Douglas-Hogg confessed to the abuse but only after putting three victims through the ordeal of giving evidence and being branded liars in the witness box.

The judge said: ‘You gave instructions that you had committed no acts of indecency against anybody and that each of the allegations was fabricated.

‘Your counsel put to the first three victims that they were lying and had fabricated the evidence and colluded.

‘That was a wicked thing to do.’

Douglas-Hogg claimed he had admitted his crimes to spare his elderly parents the details.

The judge added: ‘Your hypocrisy is palpable.

‘You are concerned about your parents but you were quite prepared to put the victims and their families through the ordeal.

‘In my judgment you have shown no remorse at all.

‘You should be a broken man.

‘Regrettably, I have serious doubts as to whether or not you actually are.’

One former choirboy broke down in court in October after hearing Douglas-Hogg’s suicide bid meant the trial would not go ahead as scheduled.

Just hours before the jury was about be sworn the former choirmaster took a massive overdose of crushed paracetamol.

When he failed to turn up to court police went to his hotel room to find him unconscious on the floor and surrounded by empty pill bottles.

He was put on a life support machine and remained in hospital for several weeks.

The judge continued: ‘Naively, one might have thought it was because of remorse for what you had done.’

The former school master was banned from working with children and ordered to sign as a sex offender, both indefinitely.

Outside court the three victims who gave evidence made a joint statement which said: ‘We have had to live with this for so long and what has happened to us has devastated our family and friends.

‘Finally the man who pretended to be a father figure has faced justice.

‘We hope that this case will give others the courage to speak out about abuse they have suffered.’