Bosham man charged with 28 sex offences appears in court

Jonathan O'Brien, 55, of Fairfield Road, Bosham'PICTURE BY EDDIE MITCHELL
Jonathan O'Brien, 55, of Fairfield Road, Bosham'PICTURE BY EDDIE MITCHELL

A TEACHER accused of sexually exploiting the loneliness of his pupils has appeared at Chichester Crown Court today (Monday, November 18).

Jonathan O’Brien, 55, of Fairfield Road, Bosham pleaded not guilty earlier this year to 28 charges of abusing boys at private schools in Kidderminster and Reading during the 1980s.

He faces 18 counts of indecent assault of a boy under 14, five counts of indecently assaulting a boy under 16 and five counts of gross indecency with a boy under 14.

The allegations were made when one of his accusers went to a police station in December, 2012.

Opening for the prosecution, John Causer said O’Brien ‘targeted and groomed’ boys of a particular type, normally clever, slim, blond sporty types.

“Pupils had a sense they were being educated, that he was sharing a secret rather than forcing something on them,” said Mr Causer.

“He himself was charming, convivial and attractive outside the school environment – someone who easily dazzled the people that he met.

“It seems from what we will hear that Mr O’Brien was sexually omnivorous, The victims in this case are male but he dated women as well.”

The two private schools in question are Winterfold House School, near Kidderminster, and The Oratory, near Reading.

A number of the alleged incidents were said to have taken place in the schools’ photography dark room, which was the only room with a lock.

The trial is expected to last for around five weeks. Witness evidence is due to start tomorrow.