Abuser told student victims: I'm testing you for Chernobyl radiation

Abuser told student victims: I’m testing you for radiation from Chernobyl

  • Former student sexually assaulted undergraduates by subjecting them to fake medical examinations – and got one victim to sign the ‘Official Secrets Act’ 

A former student carried out sexual assaults at a Scots university after claiming to be conducting radiation testing for the Ministry of Defence.

John Beaumont subjected victims to fake medical examinations and even got one to sign the ‘Official Secrets Act’.

He convinced three fellow students – two males and a female – the procedures were necessary as they may have been affected by the disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear power station in 1986.

Beaumont, 65, admitted three charges of indecent assault when he appeared at the High Court in Edinburgh yesterday.

The crimes took place at St Andrews University between 1986 and 1988.

John Beaumont pleaded guilty to indecent assault against two men and a woman at St Andrews University, by convincing them they needed medical tests. 

Aftermath of the reactor explosion at Chernobyl nuclear power, near the city of Pripyat in northern Ukraine, on 26 April 1986

Advocate depute John McElroy, KC, told the court one of his victims learned last year that the former theology student had been convicted in 2017 of carrying out similar offences in Manchester. 

A judge in that case was told Beaumont had convinced three victims they may have suffered radiation poisoning.

He used syringes to take ‘samples’ and one victim was injected in the genitals with water. Beaumont was jailed for 13 years at Manchester Crown Court after pleading guilty to indecent assault and causing actual bodily harm.

Mr McElroy yesterday told the Edinburgh hearing one of those targeted in St Andrews ‘went online and noted the accused had been convicted for offences that mirrored what had happened to him.’ The matter was then reported to the police.

Mr McElroy said one victim recalled how Beaumont told him in 1987 that he was working for the MoD and showed him some form of identification.

He said: ‘The accused told him he was sampling members of the public based on their medical records as certain individuals had a protein in their systems that reacted adversely to the Chernobyl radiation.

A sign warns of radiation contamination inside the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, Pripyat, a restricted zone contaminated by radiation from the 1986 meltdown of reactor number four

‘The accused said he had a heightened risk of cancer. The man was terrified. The accused showed him a Geiger counter and copies of an official secrets non-disclosure agreement.’

Beaumont told him he would need to take samples.

Mr McElroy said: ‘Beaumont used a syringe as he pretended to take samples from under his arms and carried out a similar procedure on his genitals.’

A second student experienced a similar scenario and said the incident left him feeling ‘embarrassed and anxious’. The third victim was a female student.

Judge Lord Mulholland told Beaumont: ‘What you did was depraved and deceitful.’ He placed him on the sex offenders register and deferred sentence for background reports.

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