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Friday, October 22, 1999 Published at 15:07 GMT 16:07 UK


Education

School 'sex monster' jailed for 12 years



A former head of care at a residential school has been branded "a sexual monster" by a judge who jailed him for 12 years.

Peter Amundsen, 45, had admitted a series of sex offences against boys at the home.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that he had been given the job despite having no qualifications, little experience and having been mentally ill.

"I ask myself where were we as a nation?" the judge said.

"I think we all bear some degree of collective responsibility for putting young children behind closed doors in homes and establishments and then effectively forgetting about them.

"It seems to me there was no adequate system of monitoring, scrutiny and checks on the backgrounds of people like you, paedophiles, who should never have been in that position.

'Systematic'

"This was deliberate, systematic and very extensive sexual abuse of children who were vulnerable and powerless," he said.

Amundsen, formerly of Tuebrook, Liverpool, had pleaded guilty to 53 offences over almost 20 years. They involved eight boys aged between 12 and 15 years.

He had denied 13 similar offences, some involving three other boys, and these were ordered to lie on the file.

The judge ruled that the name of the school cannot be reported.

He told Amundsen: "You are an evil man. Your behaviour was monstrous and you are a sexual monster.

Psychiatric patient

"Your behaviour was an abomination and desecration of the innocence of young boys."

In his 11 years of presiding over many such cases it was the most serious he had encountered.

The court heard that Amundsen had been regarded as "a nice and popular" man but secretly he regularly abused some of the vulnerable pupils.

The offences continued until 1998 when one of the victims complained. Amundsen became a psychiatric in-patient.

He denied the allegations but after receiving further treatment was re-interviewed at his request and admitted his guilt.

Stuart Driver, defending, said Amundsen was genuinely remorseful. He himself had been sexually abused.



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