Middlesbrough diocese faces multi-million pound compensation claim following abuse convictions

Catholic Herald
October 31, 2016

Leeds Court

The diocese is subject to a civil claim following the imprisonment of a former principal and chaplain earlier this year

A test court case claiming compensation against a Catholic diocese opens today, after a former principal and a chaplain at a children’s home run by the diocese were imprisoned for historic sex offences earlier this year.

Five survivors have brought a civil claim, due to be heard at the high court in Leeds, against the Catholic diocese of Middlesbrough and the De La Salle Brothers, whose members ran St William’s Home in Market Weighton, east Yorkshire.

If the case is successful, the Catholic Church in the UK could be liable to pay compensation of millions of pounds.

In January, James Carragher, former principal at the home, was jailed for 15 years after being convicted of indecent assault and serious sex offences against 11 boys at the home between 1970 and 1991.

Anthony MacCallen, the former chaplain, was convicted of 11 charges.

The residential school, which closed in 1992, took boys from troubled backgrounds referred by local authorities.

A civil action launched in 2004 was delayed by a dispute between the diocese and the Brothers over which was liable for an £8m compensation claim. In 2012, the Supreme Court ruled that both were liable.

David Greenwood of Switalskis solicitors who has represented survivors since 2003, said: “It is hoped that this trial will bring a positive conclusion to the cases for the many deserving victims of abuse at St William’s. There have been many convictions, in 1993, 2004 and 2015. This case is a test for our civil justice system. I hope it will be able to provide real justice.”

Neither the Diocese of Middlesbrough nor the De La Salle Brothers could be reached for comment, but both have previously issued statements condemning abuse.

The case is expected to last three weeks.


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