Derek Slade sex abuse compensation claims: Leicester Lord Mayor - I'm being pursued for crimes of another
The Lord Mayor of Leicester says he being held responsible for the crimes of another after it emerged he is being sued by teenagers alleging they were the victims of a paedophile teacher.
Councillor Abdul Osman is facing claims for compensation from eight boys who say they were sexually abused by Derek Slade while he was their head teacher at a school in India.
Slade was jailed for 21 years in 2010 after being convicted of abusing and beating a dozen youngsters at a school in Suffolk when its headteacher in the 1970s and 1980s.
The Indian boys claim Slade molested them when he was head of Anglo-Kutchi Medium English School, in Gujarat.
The school was set up after the devastating earthquake in 2001. Coun Osman was among the people who helped raise the money to pay for it.
The boys' case against Coun Osman is that he ran the school, along with another politician and a British charity, that they employed Slade and were negligent in failing to protect them from the paedophile.
Coun Osman, a founder of Leicester Gujarat Earthquake Relief Fund, said he was shocked to find himself at the centre of the legal battle.
He said he had helped raise £15,000 to set up the school and had done fund-raising to help it with running costs.
However, he said: "We raised money but that was it. I did not appoint Slade and I did not run the school.
"If the acts are proved to have taken place, I condemn them absolutely.
"I don't know why they are coming after me. I am being pursued for someone else's crimes.
"It is Slade they should be going after.
"We will defend our case if we need to but I don't think there is a case to answer.
"But as a human being it is not very nice to face this kind of accusation."
Coun Osman said legal papers were served by the boys' lawyers, Pannone, on September 20.
He said: "I was away in India. They gave my wife an envelope with a legal document."
The case is also being brought against Derek Sawyer, a former leader of Islington Borough Council, and the charity Help a Poor Child, which supported the school.
Pannone partner Alan Collins said: "The victims are claiming he [Coun Osman] ran the school and that as a result they failed in their duty of care to protect them from Slade.
"The case is being heard in Britain because all the defendants are based here.
"It may be settled out of court but if not it will be heard in the high court in London, though that could be some way off."
He said there was no specific amount the boys were seeking in damages but that a sum would be calculated once the affects of the alleged abuse had been fully assessed.
Mr Collins said if the civil case was proved, it would demonstrate Slade's regime in India was similar to that at St George's School in Great Finborough, Suffolk, which led to his convictions.