Compensation bids rejected in 3 test cases

By Alex Ross
December 22, 2016

THREE alleged victims of sex abuse at a Catholic children’s homes have been unsuccessful in their bid for compensation.

Only one out of four ‘test’ cases was awarded £14,000 in damages at Leeds High Court after a ruling was made by a judge presiding over compensation claims for former pupils at St William’s, in Market Weighton, East Yorkshire.

A total of 249 men lodged claims against the Diocese of Middlesbrough and the De La Salle institute, which ran the home until its closure in 1992.

They claim to have suffered sexual abuse there and, in one of the largest joint compensation claims against the Catholic Church, potential payouts could run into millions of pounds if successful.

But on Wednesday Judge Mark Gosnell ruled on the first four cases and only one was successful. His ruling is expected on a further, fifth case, in January.

The former headmaster, James Carragher, and the former priest, Anthony McCallen, were convicted of sex offences against boys at the school in November 2015. Carragher, 75, was convicted previously in 1993 and 2004 of sexual offences against boys at the school which closed in 1992.

David Greenwood, of Switalskis Solicitors, represents 109 men who were allegedly sexually assaulted at St William’s.

Mr Greenwood said: “I welcome the finding in favour of a claimant which demonstrates the way in which Carragher preyed on young boys by violently raping them at St William’s.”

However, he was disappointed at the judgement for the other three claimants.

“In my opinion these claimants have been treated harshly by the civil justice system which needs reform in the area of child abuse cases.

“The system has let down these deserving claimants. The claimants who were unsuccessful will consider appeal and the remaining 245 claimants will continue their pursuit of justice.”

The Press reported in September how Darren Furness, a former pupil at St William’s, was trying to collect 100,000 signatures to get the matter debated in Parliament. Mr Furness, 48, was campaigning for signatures outside the former BHS store in Coney Street, York.

Mr Furness says he was a victim of abuse while at St William’s in 1985 and 1986 and has spent the last 30 years trying to hold those responsible to account.


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