|Middlesbrough Catholic Diocese Appeal Bid Fails
By Andy Passant
October 27, 2010
A COURT ruling has left a Catholic diocese facing full responsibility for a multi-million pound compensation claim over child abuse at a boys' school.
The Court of Appeal dismissed a challenge by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Middlesbrough in a case where more than 150 former pupils are suing for an estimated £8m in compensation.
The claimants are alleged to have suffered sexual and physical abuse by staff at St William's in Market Weighton, East Yorkshire between 1960 and 1992.
Middlesbrough Diocese had argued that the De La Salle Brotherhood, a lay Catholic order, should take some responsibility for the alleged abuse.
Jeremy Stuart-Smith QC, representing the diocese and its Catholic Child Welfare Society, had said many of the alleged acts of abuse were said to have been committed by members of the brotherhood working at the school.
A judge ruled last year that the brotherhood had no legal responsibility for the alleged abuse.
And yesterday the Court of Appeal ruled the diocese must carry the potentially huge financial can for acts of abuse at the school.
The case centres on the alleged systematic abuse of boys aged between ten and 16 from 1960 to 1992.
The school had taken in boys referred from local authorities, mainly from Yorkshire and North-east England.
Solicitor David Greenwood, of Jordans solicitors in Wakefield, is acting on behalf of 158 claimants.
"I am pleased for the claimants as this Court of Appeal ruling now means that my clients can move forward with their claims for compensation.
"I hope the Roman Catholic Diocese of Middlesbrough and its representatives will work with me constructively to achieve settlements for all these deserving claimants, who have been subjected to horrendous physical and sexual abuse whilst they were children at St Williams Children's Home.
"Although two Roman Catholic organisations were involved in running St William's, it has finally been determined only the Roman Catholic Diocese of Middlesbrough is responsible for compensating claimants.
"Both organisations have attempted to use legal technicalities to escape responsibility, a tactic mirrored in other Roman Catholic child abuse cases."
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