May 2017

Ivybridge paedophile jailed for boarding school sex abuse

A former house parent at a boarding school has been jailed for abusing vulnerable boys on his care after a judge told him he had abused his position of trust.

Steven Joyce was in charge of the welfare of boys who were sent to a special school in North Devon and had no-one else to turn to if they were lonely or homesick.

He used his position as house parent to touch the boys or make them touch him in his rooms, at his home nearby, in the bathroom, while doing dormitory rounds, while taking them out in the school bus.

He set up a system of sexual abuse in which he moved from one victim to another over almost a decade in the 1980s, leaving the boys with a lifetime of psychological damage.

Joyce, now aged 66, of Erme Drive, Ivybridge, admitted two offences of attempted buggery and 13 of indecency against a total of four boys aged ten to 15.

He was jailed for seven years, two months by Recorder Mr Martin Meeke, QC, who told him:”This was a boarding school for boys with a range of difficulties. You were in a position of trust which you abused and your victims were vulnerable.

“I cannot find any mitigating features. The offending continued over years and affected many victims.”

Mr Richard Crabb, prosecuting, said Joyce pretended to be a father figure to gain the trust of boys and then groomed them for sex, giving them chocolates, cash and other gifts before or after abusing them. He assaulted some boys while pretending to comfort them.

Victim impact statements described how boys had suffered years of psychological trauma and felt Joyce had stolen their childhoods.

At the time it was a privately run school for what were described as maladjusted children, but it is now a special school run by Devon County Council.

Mr Joss Ticehurst, defending, said Joyce should be given credit for accepting what he had done so many years ago and saving the victims the ordeal of re-living their ordeals in court.

He said Joyce will have no contact with children after his release and will pose no danger to the public.