Gordon Wateridge, nicknamed ‘the Perv’ by his victims, carried out the attacks in the 1970s at the Haut de la Garenne children’s home in Jersey.
The 78-year-old, described as a “persistent sexual bully” during his trial last month, was found guilty of eight charges of indecent assault and one charge of assault at Jersey’s Royal Court. Youngsters sent to the home were vulnerable and suffered from a variety of problems. But Wateridge, then in his 40s, failed in his obligation to look after them, the court heard. He would grope girls’ breasts, kiss them on the neck and, in one instance, forced his hand inside a victim’s underwear.
Wateridge, who was born in Croydon, south London, was the first person to be charged in connection with a historic child abuse investigation on the island. One victim repeatedly broke down into tears in court as she recalled how Wateridge would regularly lean out and grab her and other girls as they walked past the children home’s snooker table.
The woman, who was taken into the home after her father unexpectedly died, said Wateridge would push her on to the snooker table and grope her breasts and inner thighs.
“It wasn’t right ... I was a girl of 13 or 14, he was a big man, I would be shouting at him to stop,” she said. Passing sentence on Monday, Judge Christopher Pitchers said: “What he did was rightly described in the trial as sexual bullying.”
It was true, he added, that the acts carried out by Wateridge were at the “lower end” of the sentencing guidelines, but he added: “There is no such thing as a trivial indecent assault of child.
“They were vulnerable because they were children and because they were placed in the home without the support of a loving family. They were entitled to expect care, love and kindness but in fact they received sexual bullying and unkindness.”