Former Ripon teacher jailed for 12 years after historic child sex abuse conviction

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A former Ripon teacher has been jailed for 12 years after being found guilty of historic child sex offences.

Ian David Charles Atkinson, 59, formerly of Staveley, Ripon, had served as a deputy headteacher at the now closed Ripon Cathedral Choir School.

He was jailed yesterday after being found guilty of nine offences following a six-day trial at Bradford Crown Court.

The offences included six charges of indecent assault on a boy, one charge of inciting a boy to commit an act of gross indecency with him, and two of downloading indecent images of children.

Four of the offences took place in Hampshire, where Atkinson also taught, and the remainder happened in Ripon.

The contact offences occurred in the 1990s and 2000s, and the indecent images were discovered in 2015 when officers seized Atkinson’s laptop following his arrest.

Atkinson, now of Brompton on Regis, Somerset, was also placed on the sex offenders register for life and issued with a sexual harm prevention order.

Detective Constable Fiona Ayre, of North Yorkshire Police, said: “Appallingly, Atkinson used his position of trust to abuse young boys for his own sexual gratification and the sentence reflects the serious and protracted nature of his offending.

“I praise the victims for having the courage to relive their ordeals in court and I hope the outcome can help them to move forward."

She said investigating all reports of child sex abuse was a priority for the police.

"It doesn’t matter when the abuse happened, whether it’s happening now or occurred 50 years ago," she said. "Even if it is not possible to put an offender before the courts, it’s important that you are offered the support and advice that is available. Your information could also help to protect other victims and help the police form a wider picture of offending.

“We appreciate that telling the police what has happened takes courage. It is not easy reliving such distressing situations. We understand this and have specially trained officers who will guide you through the process as well as signposting you to other agencies who can help you.

“Please do not suffer alone. If you have been abused, please report it.”

How to report sexual abuse

Call police on 101 but ring 999 if you are in immediate danger

If you prefer not to go direct to the police and you are not in immediate danger, you can contact a sexual assault referral centre (SARC) in your area.

Bridge House, North Yorkshire’s SARC can be contacted on 01904 669339.

Childline 24-hour helpline 0800 1111

NSPCC’s online safety helpline on 0800 800 5002

If you are worried about a child, call the NSPCC’s helpline: 0800 800 5000

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