Durham School chaplain arrested over sex offence claim

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Durham School’s chaplain, the Reverend Phillip Bentham, has been arrested over a “historic” sexual assault that reportedly took place in the Merseyside Police area.

The chaplain, who was only appointed by the school last September, was released on police bail on Friday 23rd May until mid-August.

Durham School, which currently charges an annual fee of £23, 790 for GCSE and A-level full-board pupils, was keen to emphasise that the assault had no connection with the school. In a statement the school said:

“The allegation does not refer to any incident at Durham School, nor during this member of staff’s employment at the school, nor does it refer to any current or former pupils of the school.

“The school takes very seriously any allegations in respect of abuse and is providing assistance to the authorities as and when it is requested.”

A Durham Police spokesman said:

“We can confirm a 58-year-old man from Bishop Auckland was arrested on suspicion of a historical sexual assault.

“After being interviewed the man was arrested on police bail until 15 August.”

Bentham, who was previously chaplain at Bethany School in Goudhurst, Kent, has been suspended from Durham School while the investigation is ongoing.

Durham School has now been left scarred by two pieces of bad in a year that sees the school celebrate its 600th anniversary. In March the school’s former Deputy Head, Mark Bushnell, was found dead on Blackhall Rocks beach in County Durham after being reported missing for two weeks.

Image: Durham School

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