Ipswich: Pupils who discussed rumours about rapist teacher were told: ‘Stop talking about Benson... or you’ll face expulsion’
ONE former Copleston pupil today claimed rumours about rapist teacher Stephen Benson’s behaviour towards a female student were dismissed by some staff at the school.
The ex-pupil said the incident occurred many years ago and said she has been left wondering if the girls had been believed at the time whether it would have stopped Benson going on to target others.
The former pupil said: “One of the girls in my class was seen out of school (with him) quite a lot. That’s when the rumours started that something wasn’t right about him.
“The girls had been talking and some teachers got wind of it.”
She then claimed: “The girls in our year were taken into the sports hall and were told to sit down.
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“We were told that the rumours and conversations we were having among ourselves had to be stopped. There was no truth in the matter, we were told.
“If it continued it was said there would to be disciplinary action, such as suspension or expulsion. And if it carried on police could be involved. The whole time Mr Benson sat in the corner with his head down.
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“I remember when it all came out (Benson being charged) all the girls from our year were talking about it. People were saying ‘it’s about time it all came out and opened the floodgates’.
“We were told it was not true. If they had listened to us would so many girls and people’s lives been affected?”
The former pupil believes many of the female pupils sensed there was something odd about Benson.
“Girls felt uncomfortable around him. He just wasn’t like a normal teacher. It was his behaviour and some of his quirky sayings. The girls in my year were just uneasy. He could be a bit touchy sometimes.
“I went back to the school a couple of years ago and had to see him.
“I said to my husband ‘he still gives me the creeps’.”
A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said there is no record of any complaint being made against Benson until his arrest on suspicion of abusing three teenagers.
Another woman who knew Benson painted a picture of a man with low self-esteem with, on occasions, a childish obsession with sex.
She also said he appeared to be addicted to sunbeds and tanning salons, which led to him being treated for pre-cancerous growths on his back.
The woman added Benson seemed a very anxious person, and did not appear to trust people, believing they would let him down.