By Graham Grant, Home Affairs Editor For The Scottish Daily Mail
A ballet school is at the center of an investigation into allegations of “inappropriate sexual behavior” by a staff member towards students.
The West Ballet in Taynuilt, Argyll, paying a fee, is in the process of recruiting a high profile legal person – likely a QC – to investigate the allegations and have notified police.
Concerns were raised on social media and not directly with the school, which said a staff member resigned before the internal investigation.
It is understood that the media asked the school principal, Gillian Barton on Sunday. The allegations relate to improper touching and none of the alleged victims is under the age of 16.
Last night, ITV News said its investigation heard from over 60 women – alumni, staff and parents – who shared their accounts of the staff member’s alleged “inappropriate behavior” dating back to 2004 and also recently. than in 2018.
Taynuilt’s paid Ballet West, Argyll, was rocked by a staff member sexual abuse investigation after 60 ‘victims’ came forward to give their accounts of ‘inappropriate behavior’. Pictured: Ballet dancers perform at Corran Halls in Oban, Scotland
One, “Woman A,” said that she “had received treatment and had sex with [the staff member] when [she] was a student, ”adding,“ I was 16. He abused his position of power.
She said: ‘He [had] easy access to get in and out of my room whenever he wants. You can’t get away from him. He is very charming and powerful. Another former student, “Woman B”, claimed the staff member began sex with her when she was 16.
She said: “They were really responsible for what happened in your dance career… he was calculated in what he did. I think he chose his victims very carefully.
A former colleague of the staff member, who wishes to remain anonymous, said the alleged inappropriate conduct caused them to quit their jobs, adding: “I felt I was supporting him by bringing in these new students who were so excited. [and] I could see the previous girls who had been broken.
The school’s board said it was made aware of the charges earlier this week.
He added, “We have no complaints from a student regarding such behavior and, to our knowledge, no complaints have been filed with the police or any other authority.
“However, given the nature of the charges, the council immediately opened an internal investigation to establish the facts.
Pictured: Ballet West in Taynuilt, Argyll, where former students, staff and parents shared their stories of the staff member’s alleged ‘inappropriate behavior’ dating back to 2004 and as recently as 2018
‘A senior official [has] categorically denied any wrongdoing and will fully cooperate with any investigation. He offered his resignation so that an investigation could be conducted freely and students and their families could have confidence in the process.
The board added that the staff member “will vigorously dispute any allegations” and resigned “to ensure that the school is not discredited.”
His statement continued: “We have also started the process of undertaking a full and independent investigation which will be carried out by a high level legal personality unrelated to the school.
“The school takes all issues involving students and staff very seriously.
A Police Scotland spokesperson said: ‘We can confirm that officers have been made aware of concerns about inappropriate behavior. However, no criminality has been established to date.