Abuse victims could win pay-outs within months
VICTIMS of sex abuse by the clergy at a notorious East Yorkshire care home could be awarded compensation within months.
More than 170 men are seeking pay-outs for abuse they suffered while residents of St William's home for troubled boys in Market Weighton.
The abuse at the home, which catered for boys aged 11 to 18, happened between the 1950s and the 1990s.
Yesterday, the Supreme Court in London considered who should be responsible for paying compensation, which could be worth up to £8 million.
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The Roman Catholic Diocese of Middlesbrough, in charge of the home, employed the De La Salle Order of Christian Brothers, a teaching ministry to run the facility.
Solicitor David Greenwood, who is representing many of the victims, told the Mail: "It has been a very difficult time for the victims who are having to relive the abuse they suffered."
Mr Greenwood said the Supreme Court will decide whether the Diocese is solely responsible for paying damages or whether the De La Salle Order of Christian Brothers should also contribute to any compensation.
There is no suggestion the De La Salle Order of Christian Brothers will be required to pay all the damages, said Mr Greenwood.
He added: "Our stance is neutral. It is for the courts to decide who must pay."
Humberside Police launched the first of three investigations into alleged sex abuse at the home in 2001.
It led to the former principal, Brother James Carragher, being jailed for 14 years in 2004.
Father Anthony McCallen, who gave Mass at the home, was also jailed for three-and-a-half years for offences against young boys committed in his parish in Hull.
Last night, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Middlesbrough issued a statement.
It said: "The Diocese is pleased that the matter of liability in respect of St William's will soon be resolved and that claims for compensation can therefore begin to be examined by the courts.
"The Diocese has made clear on many occasions that any abuse which occurred is utterly deplorable.
"We offer sympathy and solidarity to anyone who has suffered abuse, whether physical or sexual, and hope the legal process of establishing the validity of claims be as swift as possible to allow for healing."
The Diocese said it has never sought to avoid or delay the payment of compensation to victims with valid claims, but to seek clarity about who should make those payments.
The statement continued: "The Diocese has always agreed that, as the nominal employers, it is partially liable. But it is also right that the main liability should lie with the organisation which ran the school/home.
"The De La Salle brothers appointed the staff and made all the decisions in respect of the day to day running of St William's and it is right that they should share the cost of compensating victims."
St William's closed in the mid-1990s amid spiralling debts and the initial child sex abuse scandal.
It is thought the Supreme Court will award any compensation in September.