Jon Styler, an ex-head teacher, was accused back in 2007 of abusing boys at Malpas Church in Wales Primary School in the 1970s. Since then, more than 100 victims in schools in Newport and Worcestershire have come forward to say they were also abused by Styler in the 1970s and 1980s.
Styler took his own life in 2007 and, despite having strongly denied the allegations, eight men received out of court settlements of £140,000 from Newport Council in 2017 with no admission of liability.
Now, one of the survivors of ‘one of Wales’ most prolific paedophiles’ has spoken to the BBC to give his account of the trauma he went through at the hands of this man in a position of trust.
The anonymous survivor, who we shall refer to as “G”, divulges how the abuse was compounded further as his mother did not believe him.
G believes he was targeted by Styler due to his musical talents which enabled Styler, who had similar musical talents, to give him private lessons, during which the abuse often took place.
He explains how Styler, like many other abusers, charmed his mother to a point where “he was the living embodiment of God” and, to her, “his reputation unimpeachable”.
G explained, “The abuse was shocking, from sexual to out-and-out violence, but the worst part of all was that my mum said I was lying.
I attempted to plead my innocence years later when I was about 14, but save a few awkward silences, it was never spoken of again and remained that way until she took it to her grave.”
It wasn’t until many years later, during a therapy session, that G began to piece together what had happened to him. In a moment of curiosity following the therapy session, G decided to see what he could find out about Styler. He discovered Styler had taken his own life not long after an allegation of abuse from a former pupil.
G said he felt cheated and assumed that “nothing could be done and that myself and the other pupils were simply unlucky individuals.”
Fast forward to 2021, and during the coronavirus lockdown and a particularly low time for G, he decided to search for Jon Styler’s name once again. The search brought up a BBC documentary from 2015 which initially portrayed Jon Styler as charming and charismatic, and was one of – if not the – youngest headmasters in Wales’ educational history. However, the programme also revealed he was considered to be one of the most prolific paedophiles in Welsh history with possibly more than 100 victims at schools across the UK. The title of that documentary? “My teacher the paedophile.”
G explains how in “the briefest snap of time – I went from being a misunderstood, disbelieved, isolated victim to being one of dozens of others whose parents had been equally hoodwinked by Jon Styler’s glittering facade.”
After discovering the documentary, G decided to report his experience to the police and, despite there being nothing they could do due to Styler’s suicide, he described it as “cathartic nonetheless”.
G explained his plans to watch the documentary to see for himself how “this insidious monster fooled so many people”.
On taking the decision to speak out, G described how “simply the thought of talking about traumatic childhood experiences, media and peer judgement causes many people to feel compelled to keep a tight lid on what happened to them.”
“I’m not one of those unfortunate victims – and if I can salve a single silent soul by talking about what Jon Styler did to me, then I have done my job.”
Farleys have assisted many survivors of historical abuse, particularly of those in a position of trust.
Survivors of abuse may be entitled to Criminal Injuries Compensation Award (CICA) and potentially be able to present a claim directly against the local authority or religious institution.
The fundamental priority in these cases is to ensure that those affected by abuse in education are able to access the support they require as they attempt to come to terms with their experience and Farleys’ abuse specialists have unrivalled experience in this area. In our pursuit for compensation for survivors we will always consider the ways in which their experience has had an impact on their past and present, but also consider any future effects, both psychological and physical, to ensure valuable resources for survivors to enable them to move on with their lives.
If you or someone you know is a survivor of sexual abuse at the hands of a teacher, we are available to help and assist. Our dedicated team tirelessly supports hundreds of survivors throughout the process, treating every case with the sensitivity, confidentiality and integrity that each deserves.
Contact us in confidence today on our dedicated abuse line on 0330 134 6430 or contact us by email if you prefer.