Ampleforth College teacher Dara De-Cogan jailed after sexually abusing pupil
A musician and teacher has been jailed for sexually abusing a pupil at Ampleforth College over some years.
Judge Andrew Stubbs QC told Dara De-Cogan, 58: “You used her to satisfy your sexual desires and to act out your own sexual fantasies.
“It was an abject failure of the trust her parents had placed in Ampleforth College and more particularly in you.”
Dan Cordey, prosecuting, said the former senior member of the Halle Orchestra and head of strings at the Roman Catholic private school in Ryedale befriended the girl after she became a boarder there.
He groomed her during her first years and acted as a surrogate father, before constantly engaging in sex acts with her throughout her sixth form years, on and off the school premises and during school hours, including tying her up.
In a victim impact statement, the girl, now a woman, said the abuse had had a devastating effect on her ability to trust others and form relationships. The fact that it took place in a Catholic institution and that De-Cogan told her she would “throw him into hell” if she left him had shaken but not ended her faith.
De-Cogan, of Kilburn near Thirsk, pleaded guilty to ten charges of engaging in sexual activity while in a position of trust and was jailed for 28 months at York Crown Court. He was also put on the sex offenders’ register for ten years and banned from ever contacting the girl again
His barrister Rod Hunt said: “This was one infatuation. There have been no other infatuations. When the temptation came his way he was no longer strong enough to resist it.”
At the time, he was having family difficulties including the death of his father.
De-Cogan will never work as a teacher again, he said.
An NSPCC spokesperson said: “De Cogan used a position of trust for his own gratification and those he abused have shown incredible courage in coming forward and speaking out.
“Now that he has been sentenced we hope his victims can begin to move forward with their lives.
“We want anyone who has suffered abuse to know they will be listened to, adults with concerns about a child can call our Helpline on 0808 8005000, children can call Childline on 0800 1111.”