On 22 May 2017 Steven Joyce pleaded guilty at Exeter Crown Court to fifteen offences against four children in his care.
Joyce was employed during the 1980s as a house parent to look after the welfare of vulnerable children at the Marland School at Peters Marland near Torrington. Marland School was a boarding school for boys aged 11 to 16 years old. Joyce had a pastoral not an academic role and his duties included comforting boys who were upset or homesick. The court heard that Joyce had bought the boys presents in order to groom them and that his offences spanned over 10 years. Mr Richard Crabb, prosecuting, said Joyce pretended to be a father figure to gain the trust of the 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. Recorder Mr Martin Meeke QC told Joyce “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.”
Joyce admitted to fifteen offences against four boys under the age of 16 including eleven indecent assaults on the boys, two offences of gross indecency and attempted buggery against two of the boys. The offences of indecent assault were specimen counts, meaning the offences happened on numerous occasions. He was sentenced to over seven years’ imprisonment.
In sentencing, which took place on 23 May 2017, the judge spoke of the “lasting hurt and damage” Joyce had caused to his victims. Victim impact statements described how the boys had suffered years of psychological trauma with one describing how Joyce had robbed him of his childhood. The Judge said that he could not find any mitigating features as Joyce’s offending happened over many years and he only pleaded guilty on the morning of the trial.
It came to light that Joyce had previously been convicted in 1999 of six sexual offences against 2 boys including another boy who attended Marland School.
I have been instructed by former pupils on whom the above criminal case focused to pursue a claim against the school for childhood sexual abuse suffered at the hands of Steven Joyce. If you are also a survivor of sexual abuse by Joyce and are willing to assist my clients’ cases by providing a witness statement please contact me, Anne Lankester, on my direct dial telephone number 0207 288 4862 or by email.