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Monday, 30 September, 2002, 06:02 GMT 07:02 UK
Fury over sex abuse suspect's will
John Owen (left) at court
John Owen killed himself before returning to court
Parents of pupils said to have been sexually abused by the late television writer John Owen are shocked Welsh-language campaigners have accepted a large legacy in his will.

And they have called for Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg - the Welsh Language Society - to rethink its decision on accepting a six-figure sum from the former drama teacher's estate.

Solicitor Hywel James
Re-think call : Hywel James

On Sunday, Cymdeithas defended its decision to keep a 100,000 legacy left to them by Mr Owen, who killed himself when accused of child abuse.

The pressure group, which relies on donations for its survival, said it saw no reason to refuse the money.

Plaid Cymru decided against accepting an undisclosed amount from Mr Owen's will just four months ago.

Parents of pupils allegedly abused by Mr Owen said they were shocked by the Cymdeithas decision to accept what they described as "tainted" money.

'Look again'

"The view of those I represent is that the money is tainted, and should not have been accepted," said solicitor Hywel James.

"They want Cymdeithas to look again at its decision."

Mr Owen - a former drama teacher who wrote the award-winning children's series, Pam Fi, Duw? (Why Me, God?), was found dead in a seaside caravan last October.

The 49-year-old, from Tylorstown, Rhondda, south Wales, had taken a lethal overdose of morphine the day before he was due back in court.

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

He faced allegations of sexually assaulting pupils over a 10-year period when a teacher at Ysgol Rhydfelen, near Pontypridd.

An inquiry set up by Children's Commissioner Peter Clarke has been hearing evidence from former pupils who claim they were sexually abused by Mr Owen.

Witnesses - now adults - giving evidence at the hearing include one woman who alleged Mr Owen raped her in a private room after she refused to perform a sex act during an A-level practical examination.

A man, now a father, said he was forced to dance naked at practical drama exams.

Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg spokesman Ffred Ffrancis said on Sunday that the society's committee had seen no reason to refuse the money left to them in Mr Owen's will.

He said it was not up to the organisation to judge the actions of Mr Owen.

"The only possible reason for refusing to accept the money would be if we set ourselves up in such a righteous way as to be judges on other people, and say this person is not good enough for us to accept his money," he said.

He added that a meeting in the summer decided Cymdeithas would accept the bequest, as no objections had been raised by any members.


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