Compensation bid launched by Roman Catholic school abuse victims

Gazette Live
November 1, 2016

St William's children's home in Market Weighton

A High Court trial has begun to decide the first cases in one of the biggest compensation claims involving the Roman Catholic church arising from allegations of historical sexual abuse.

A total of 249 men have lodged claims against the Diocese of Middlesbrough and the De La Salle Institute, which ran the St William’s children’s home in Market Weighton, East Yorkshire.

If the claims are successful the pay-outs are expected to run to millions of pounds.

Earlier this year, the former head of St William’s, James Carragher, was jailed for the third time after he was found guilty of sexually abusing boys.

Carragher, 75, had already been sentenced to 21 years in prison for sexually abusing boys when he was jailed for a further nine years in January.

He was jailed for seven years in 1993 and a further 14 years in 2004 for offences he committed at St William’s, which closed in 1992.

The judge in December said he and co-defendant Anthony McCallen, from Ingleby Barwick , had the boys at the school “effectively trapped” and added: “It is difficult to imagine a worse case of breach of trust.”

McCallen, 69, a former chaplain at St William’s, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for a series of historical sex offences.

The jury heard how McCallen had also been convicted before - of abusing two boys in the 1990s when he was also found in possession of indecent photographs of boys, some of which he took through spyholes as they showered and used the toilet.

The criminal court cases heard how boys had been placed at the school because of difficult circumstances in their lives and were among the most vulnerable in society.

Humberside Police launched Operation Aldgate in 2001 when allegations of widespread abuse at the home came to light.

They appealed for men from Teesside and North Yorkshire who lived in the home to come forward. The wide-ranging inquiry covered 2,500 people who went through the centre between 1967 and 1992.

David Greenwood, from solicitors Switalskis, has been pursuing the cases since 2003.

He 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 is no doubt that widespread sexual abuse of boys was taking place 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.”

The trial, at the High Court in Leeds, involves claims from five of the claimants.

It is expected to last for three weeks.


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