Monday, October 25, 2010

New abuse claims

http://www.thisishullandeastriding.co.uk/news/Police-team-investigating-new-claims-child-abuse-St-William-s-care-home/article-2665642-detail/article.html

New child abuse claims at Catholic home: Police investigating St William's allegations

CENTRE OF CLAIMS: St William's in Market Weighton, which has since been demolished.
POLICE are investigating dozens of fresh claims of child abuse at a notorious East Yorkshire children's home, the Mail can reveal.

A team of detectives is looking into new claims of abuse at St William's Community Home, in Market Weighton.

The 21 complainants, originally from Hull and the East Riding, have made fresh allegations against "several" members of a Catholic teaching brotherhood which ran the home.

It comes after two members of the De La Salle Order of Christian Brothers were jailed for abusing a number of boys at the home, which was supposed to care for children with troubled backgrounds.

Five other members of the brotherhood were also previously charged, but not convicted.

The new inquiry comes months after the Mail revealed details of a five-year, £1m investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), which criticised the last investigation into abuse at the home.

Assistant Chief Constable Alan Leaver has overall command of the new investigation, which has been running for a week and involves ten detectives from the force's major incident team.

It is expected to last upwards of a year.

Mr Leaver said: "We have launched a fresh inquiry into serious sexual and physical abuse at the former care home for boys in Market Weighton.

"There have been numerous allegations made by 21 complainants against several former members of staff. They are all fresh allegations.

"Seventeen of the complainants were passed onto us by a solicitor conducting a civil claim against the Catholic church and four came to us directly.

"They are very grim accusations which cover the 1960s, 70s and 80s. "We will look into the matters in a robust fashion."

This latest investigation, code-named Operation Reno, follows two similar inquiries centred around the now dismantled care home.

The former principle, Brother James Carragher, abused vulnerable boys – some as young as 12 – in the swimming pool, in the showers, in his personal chambers, and even in the care home's chapel.

Some of his victims were plied with alcohol. Others were made to take drugs.

Details of the sickening abuse by Carragher and his colleague, Father Anthony McCallen, first emerged in the 1990s.

Carragher was jailed for seven years for a catalogue of abuse and McCallen was imprisoned for three-and-a-half years, reduced to two on appeal, for indecent assault and taking indecent pictures of young boys in 1993.

In 2001, nine separate accusations of abuse by teachers were made by former residents at the home.

Detective Chief Superintendent Richard Kerman, then a detective inspector, took charge of Operation Aldgate.

After three years, 26 people had been accused, dozens and dozens of accusations of abuse had been lodged and hundreds of people had been interviewed.

Carragher was again jailed – this time for 14 years after being found guilty of seven counts of buggery and 14 of indecent assault against a total of 22 victims.

Five other members of the De Le Salle Order were acquitted.

All five then lodged complaints with the IPCC.

Following a five-year investigation, the Mail obtained a draft report on the IPCC inquiry, which highlighted numerous errors made by the police in the handling of the case.

The report's main criticism centred around the under-staffing of the inquiry.

The new criminal investigation has been launched as Wakefield- based solicitors Jordans, which passed on the details of 17 of the complainants to the police, is awaiting a decision by the High Court as to whether the De La Salle Order should be jointly responsible for compensation.

The appeal was launched by the Catholic Diocese of Middlesbrough after a High Court ruled it was responsible, and not the Order.

Mr Leaver said: "I don't think this is definitely the last we have heard from St William's."

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