Thorntons achieves landmark settlement in historic child abuse case

Thorntons achieves landmark settlement in historic child abuse case

A victim of historic child abuse has secured a six-figure settlement following a landmark case.

John Findlay, 44, who was represented by Thorntons Solicitors, has spent years pursuing his claim against Aberlour House Ltd after being sexually molested by a teacher in 1990 when he was 12-years-old.

Mr Findlay, who recently gave evidence to the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry, was drugged before a teacher entered his dormitory and sexually abused him. During the ordeal he was unable to move or speak but was fully conscious of the attack, which was also photographed by the teacher.

At the time, Aberlour House was a prep school for Gordonstoun. The schools were legally separate at the time but have since merged.

Mr Findlay, who has suffered from clinically severe PTSD, depression and anxiety since, complained but his family was persuaded not to seek criminal action after receiving reassurances that his abuser would not teach again. He later became determined to seek justice after learning his abuser went on to teach elsewhere and abused further victims.

Mr Findlay said: “My victory against Aberlour House Ltd 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.

“I would like to thank Thorntons Solicitors for its unswerving support and determination to bring forward my claim. I hope my case reassures people that there is light at the end at the tunnel and it gives others confidence to speak out.”

Thorntons began pursuing the case against Aberlour House Ltd for Mr Findlay 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.”

Share icon
Share this article: