By Calvin Palmer
A teacher who groomed teenage boys for sex over a 20-year period was sentenced today at Portsmouth Crown Court to seven years in jail.
James Braid, 58, was found guilty of seven charges of multiple offences of indecent assault between 1982 and 2002.
Braid, who taught English and drama for 34 years at Bayhouse School, Gosport, Hampshire, would surround himself with vulnerable boys who had fallen victim to bullies, and they became known as Braid’s Bunch.
Braid earned the trust of parents by taking the boys on holiday to visit his relatives in Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, or inviting them to his house for help with homework.
He gave the boys, all aged around 15, with alcohol, fizzy sweets and video games before abusing them.
Defense counsel Sarah Jones said Braid felt “profound shame” for what he had done.
Sentencing him, Judge Ian Pearson said: ‘This was the gross breach of trust by a teacher.
“There is no doubt you are a gifted and charismatic teacher but you used those skills to identify, to target and to groom vulnerable young boys.
“In my view you were and are a determined, deceitful predatory paedophile.”
Braid was also ordered to pay £31,300 pounds in legal costs, banned from working with children for life and must sign the sex offenders register.
In 1998, he was acquitted of groping a boy but these new allegations did not come to light until one victim, now in his 20s, broke down after a row with his girlfriend and dialled 999.