Retired headmaster facing jail after indecency at Christian youth group

Sat 27 Aug 2016
By Marcus Jones

A retired head teacher, who was given an MBE by the Queen in 2012, is facing jail after being found guilty of gross indecency with a teenager 40 years ago.

John Coatman, now 75, has been on trial at the Old Bailey where he was accused of forming a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old member of an unnamed Christian youth group in the 1970s.

Jimmy Harris - Flickr


Jurors were told details of his abuse came to light following the victim's breakdown in marriage and problems at work in 2014.

Throughout the trial Coatman denied the allegations, claiming to be "shocked" to be arrested.

During evidence he said he had worked with around 22,000 young people throughout his 50 year association with the youth group and this was the first complaint.

He told the jury the only physical activity he engaged in with the young people was outdoor games and the topic of sex only ever came up during Bible studies.

But the jury rejected these explanations and found Coatman, of Leyburn Gardens, Croydon, guilty of two counts of gross indecency after four hours and 20 minutes of deliberations.

Sentencing will be carried out next month.

He's been bailed but warned by the Judge that a jail sentence would follow.

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