Leslie Paul, 70, was employed as a residential care worker in the early Eighties when he allegedly preyed on teenagers at the South Vale assessment centre in West Norwood.
Inner London crown court heard that Paul was “very popular” at the centre because of his habit of handing out gifts to fellow staff and children there. In recent years he has been convicted of sexual crimes against children at South Vale, and faces a fresh trial over alleged abuse of two boys.
One told police he was indecently assaulted on two occasions by Paul in a “bad room” at the centre, when the care worker claimed he was carrying out an examination for worms. The other boy said he was plied with cigarettes and whisky by Paul, who took him to a Victorian house in Dulwich to be abused.
Madeleine Wolfe, prosecuting, told jurors the two alleged victims at the centre of the trial “were not the only children who were subjected to sexual abuse by Paul at South Vale”.
“The nature of the offending is so similar to that described by (the two alleged victims) that it is evidence that could assist you in making important and objective decisions that you are going to need to make.”
The court heard that one of the boys described the centre — which assessed children in care before moving them on to permanent homes — as “dingy and a scary place to be”.
Ms Wolfe said: “He recalls a room he nicknamed the ‘bad room’ on the ground floor next to the house office, which was used as a TV room and could be locked from the inside.”
The alleged victim says Paul was initially kind but quickly became “overtly friendly” as the sexual abuse started.
He was “terrified” as Paul told him to remove his underwear so that he could “check for worms” before carrying out indecent assaults, the court heard.
“Afterwards, he was told he was a good boy, tapped on the shoulder, and sent on his way,” said the prosecutor.
The second alleged victim claims Paul put his hands down his trousers, claiming to be checking he was wearing underwear, and went on to abuse him on several occasions.
Ms Wolfe said: “When in Brockley Park he bumped into Mr Paul, who took him to a Victorian house. When they got inside Mr Paul took him to another room where the boy was give whisky and a cigarette.
“Mr Paul told him to come close to him, he put his hands up the back of his top and massaged his shoulders. He was cuddled, rocked and kissed on the lips.”
Paul accused the boys of lying. He denies 10 counts of indecent assault on a male person, two charges of indecency with a child, and one count of buggery. The trial continues.