Two men convicted of sexual abuse at an East Riding children’s home have been jailed, bringing to an end a 5-year police investigation.
James Carragher, 75, the former principal of St William’s Community Home at Market Weighton, East Yorkshire, was sentenced to 9 years’ imprisonment, and Anthony McCallen, 69, the former chaplain of the home, was handed a 15-year sentence.
The first police investigations into St William’s began in the early 1990s, and resulted in Carragher first being convicted and imprisoned for 7 years. He was also convicted in 2003 and jailed for a further 14 years. McCallen was jailed for 2 ½ years in the early 1990s for offences not related to St William’s.
David Greenwood, Director and Head of the Child Abuse Department at Switalskis Solicitors, has worked on cases involving people abused at St William’s for over a decade. A major group action, co-ordinated by Switalskis, has been running since 2005 and has yet to reach a conclusion. Despite the tireless efforts of David and his team, and despite numerous convictions of abusers, defendants have yet to reach a settlement.
St William’s was run by the Catholic Diocese of Middlesbrough and staff were provided by the De La Salle Brotherhood, a Catholic organisation meant to promote the welfare of vulnerable children but which has, over the years, been at the centre of a number of child abuse scandals. After a protracted legal battle, the Supreme Court decided in 2012 that both the Diocese and the De La Salles were legally responsible for the abuse at St William’s. With more than 200 survivors of the abuse coming forward, over 100 of which are currently represented by Switalskis, it was hoped that this decision would begin negotiations towards a settlement. To date, and despite overtures being made by David and his team with the aim of procuring an out-of-court settlement, neither of the defendants have made any indication that they would be prepared to settle cases.
Settlement would bring at least an element of closure to the survivors of abuse at St William’s. With criminal proceedings now complete once again, having concluded with further convictions in relation to abuse at the home, Switalskis hope that progress can be made on securing settlements on behalf of survivors and helping them to finally lay to rest their memories of their experiences at St William’s.
David Greenwood commented, “Whilst I welcome the sentences imposed on Carragher and McCallen, we must remember that hundreds of men allege that they have suffered very serious sexual abuse at this children’s home. I have heard hundreds of descriptions of horrendous abuse at this remote school which was operated by two Catholic organisations. The men who suffered have led poor quality lives with the psychological torment that abuse leaves together with restricted work opportunities.
“The criminal prosecutions represent some justice for the survivors but the public should be aware that the boys, now men, who were at St William’s have had to endure not only the abuse itself, but not being believed by police and social workers who they told, incomplete police investigations and years of delays caused by legal delay tactics of the home’s Catholic operators. Legal technicalities are to this day being used to prevent them getting compensation and restoring some dignity to their lives.
“I have the utmost respect for the men who are pursuing compensation claims. They deserve full justice, which means significant compensation.
“I am hopeful that the convictions will mark a turning point in the case and that the Diocese of Middlesbrough and the De La Salle organisations will now attempt to reach an out-of-court settlement with the claimants.”
Our team has many years’ experience of dealing with Children’s Home Abuse Compensation cases. If you’ve suffered abuse at St.William’s or any similar home and would like some free, confidential advice, call us on 0800 138 0458 or contact us through the website.