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Thursday, 26 September, 2002, 15:19 GMT 16:19 UK
Teachers told of drama tutor's abuse
John Owen at Rhondda Magistrates Court
John Owen killed himself as he awaited trial
An inquiry into how child abuse allegations at a south Wales school were handled has heard that a senior teacher was surprised his concerns about a colleague were not acted on by police.

The Clywch inquiry, chaired by Children's Commissioner for Wales Peter Clarke, is examining the case of drama teacher John Owen, who killed himself while awaiting trial on child abuse charges in 2001.

Children's Commissioner Peter Clarke
Children's Commissioner Peter Clarke is running the inquiry

Roy Davies, who is now assistant head teacher at Ysgol Gyfun Rhydfelen in Pontypridd, had been told Mr Owen was having a 'husband and wife' relationship with a pupil.

Mr Davies, who had been given this information by another pupil, had started investigating in 1991 when two pupils decided to drop drama as an A-level subject.

He was one of four senior teachers who signed a letter to the Education Authority raising grave concerns about Mr Owen's teaching methods and conduct.

He told the inquiry he was amazed the police did not contact him when they investigating John Owen in 1991.

When the police decided not to prosecute and John Owen resigned, Mr Davies said he felt that some pupils and teachers were blaming him for blowing the whistle.

Rape allegation

The inquiry has been hearing evidence from ex-pupils, who claimed they were forced to dance naked at practical exams.

On Wednesday, a woman alleged Mr Owen raped her in a private room after she refused to perform a sex act during an A-level practical examination.

Ysgol Gyfun Rhydfelen:
Owen taught drama at Ysgol Gyfun Rhydfelen

The woman, who cannot be named, cried as she told the inquiry how Mr Owen had constantly spoken of sexual matters and picked on her during drama lessons.

Mr Owen - an award-winning children's TV writer and former head of drama at the south Wales valleys school - killed himself last year the day before he was due in court to face five charges of indecency against children.

The woman's evidence comes after the father of a man who claims he was abused by Mr Owen, accused the authorities of trying to cover-up the teacher's activities.

John Owen
John Owen killed himself last October

The issue first came to light when four of Mr Owen's former pupils came forward with abuse allegations dating back to the 1970s.

Mr Owen was subsequently charged with five counts of indecency with boys between 1974 and 1991.

The writer of the Welsh-language youth drama Pam Fi Duw? (Why Me God?) killed himself with an overdose of morphine the day before he was due in court.

He was found dead in a caravan at Trecco Bay, Porthcawl, on the south Wales coast.


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