Child prodigy is sent home

June 16, 1995

Adam Dent, a 15-year-old "child prodigy" who is just finishing the first year of a chemistry degree course, has been sent home until the end of term following allegations about his behaviour made by a 19-year-old female student to the police. He has been allowed to complete his exams.

Mr Dent is on police bail and waiting to hear whether he will face prosecution over an incident after a drinks party thrown by the Oxford University Conservative Association.

Oxford police said a claim of sexual assault was made to them on June 6, four days after the party. A spokesman added: "On June 7, the alleged offender was arrested and interviewed. He was not charged at the time and papers in the case have been forwarded to the Crown Prosecution Service."

Mr Dent is at St Hugh's College - the college which admitted 13-year-old genius Ruth Lawrence, accompanied by her father, to study maths.

But the media circus surrounding Mr Dent's activities - his family have signed an exclusive contract to sell his diaries to the Mail on Sunday - has made his college more cautious of accepting talented teenagers.

"I have talked to Mr Dent (Adam's father) at great length and he has to think very carefully about the future for his son, whatever the formal outcome," said college dean David Robertson.

Colleges have discretion to admit young prodigies and Mr Robertson said Miss Lawrence and Mr Dent were the only two taken on by St Hugh's in recent years. In the past five years, 475 students of 17 or under have been admitted to Oxford. Two were 14 and three 16 on their first day.

Mr Robertson said Mr Dent was suspended following guidance issued by the Committee of Vice Chancellors and Principals.

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