Fury as padeophile escapes school gym ban as it would breach his human rights
A convicted paedophile is being allowed to use a gym at a school because the authorities are worried that banning him would infringe his human rights.
Andrew Baldwin, 43, was convicted in 1999 of molesting three girls aged 12 and 13.
Yet he is a frequent visitor to a public gym on the site of Whitecross School, a comprehensive for 11-16 year olds in Lydney in the Forest of Dean.
Outraged parents, who raised the alarm four weeks ago, claim they were told the school was afraid to ban Baldwin in case it was accused of breaching his human rights.
This is despite the fact that the gym is next door to children’s changing rooms.
Anthony Callaghan, 40, whose 15-year-old daughter attends Whitecross school, confronted Baldwin when he first saw him at the gym – and the child abuser promptly complained to the receptionist.
Mr Callaghan said: “It’s so ridiculous, you couldn’t make it up. The gym is for over-16s but it is right on the school premises and you have to go down the corridor and past the boys’ and girls’ changing room to get there.
“I use it five times a week and I’ve been walking down the corridor with girls in their PE kits and quite often the changing room doors are left ajar.
The headmaster told me it was out of his hands because the solicitors say a ban would breach this paedophile’s human rights.
“Well, if that’s the case, what about the human rights of the pupils?”
The gym is at council-run Whitecross Leisure Centre, which is in ‘joint use’ with the school. The majority of public use of the facilities, including squash courts and sports hall, takes place in the evenings or at weekends. But, crucially, the ‘lifestyle fitness suite’ is open to the public from 9am each day.
Whitecross headmaster David Gaston and Forest of Dean District Council are now talks with legal experts on how to resolve the issue, with one option stopping Baldwin attending the gym during school hours.
Mr Gaston said: “The safety of students is the absolute priority of the school and any decision will take their welfare into account.”
A council spokesman added: “We’re unable to comment because the head at Whitecross is awaiting definitive legal advice from Shire Hall.”
The child protection charity Kidscape called for immediate action. Director Dr Michelle Elliott said: “This totally defies common sense. Men who have been convicted of abusing a child should not be on school premises.”