AN INVESTIGATION into alleged underage sex abuse has been launched after rock star Shirley Manson revealed she and other teenagers were the victims of a predatory music teacher in the Scottish capital.
Edinburgh City Council has said it is taking the matter “very seriously” and is now looking through historic records for any evidence of sex assault claims made in the 1980s when the lead singer of Garbage was a schoolgirl.
Ms Manson, said she was a 15-year-old virgin when she was seduced by the teacher, who has not been named. She told an Australian newspaper that they began “a so-called relationship”, which continued until she discovered he was also having sex with many other teenage girls.
“I would have sex with him in the back of his van after class,” the 46-year-old said. “When I found out he was having sex with every one of my mates it stopped.”
Although Ms Manson has spoken of the abuse before, this is the first time she has said that other girls were also targeted by the man.
A spokeswoman for Edinburgh City Council confirmed an investigation is now underway. “We take any allegations of this nature very seriously and we are currently looking to establish more information about this case,” she said.
It is understood that since the allegations became public, council staff have been going through records of past teachers, and seeing if anything had been reported at the time, whether any complaints were made, or action taken.
Ms Manson has said previously that the man was not a member of staff at her school – The City of Edinburgh Music School, which has since been integrated with Broughton High School – but was a music teacher involved with a youth drama group.
The singer has described losing her virginity to the man as “ghastly”, but said that she was “besotted” with him.
Although she found fame as a singer, first with Scottish band Goodbye Mr MacKenzie, and then with Garbage, Ms Manson has said acting was her first love.
In a previous interview, she spoke of how a female teacher at her school had encouraged her and a couple of her female friends into an acting group and all three of them had gone on to “do quite well”.
Ms Manson, who recorded the title song for the James Bond film, The World Is Not Enough, now lives in California.
The singer has often spoken of how she was bullied at school because of her looks and she was so unhappy she began to self harm. As an adult she has supported the work of organisations supporting young victims.
“As a former self-harmer myself, I really do relate to anyone who is suffering so acutely from feelings of worthlessness that they attack themselves,” she said. “That’s born of a feeling of not being heard.”
In the interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, in which she spoke of the alleged abuse, she also said: “I don’t fall in love easily. I am very mistrusting.”