Prosecutors may bring charges over alleged sex abuse at Market Weighton care home
PROSECUTORS are considering bringing charges of sexual abuse against four former members of staff at an East Yorkshire children's home.
Detectives investigating decades of sexual abuse at St William's care home in Market Weighton have asked Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) lawyers to decide whether any new charges can be brought.
The allegations – which relate to dozens of victims and include rape and sexual assaults – are against four former members of staff.
Senior investigating officer Colin Andrews, who is leading Operation Reno, said: "There are a large number of files for allegations of serious sexual offences that are, at this time, against four former members of staff and they are with the CPS.
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"I do feel there is significant evidence of serious sexual abuse but whether or not they are prosecuted is not our decision. It is a matter for the CPS, taking everything into account."
The Mail revealed yesterday how the investigations into 53 offences at the home have collapsed after dozens of victims withdrew their complaints.
All of the victims who have pulled out of the criminal investigation are seeking compensation in a civil claim.
Operation Reno is the third police inquiry into sexual abuse at the care home, which closed in the 1990s.
Mr Andrews said detectives will see more alleged victims of abuse next month.
"What has happened has not stopped the investigation," he said. "It may have made it more difficult, but we are continuing to see victims and gather intelligence and put files to the CPS.
"There is no doubt at all that people were seriously sexually abused there and the vast majority of victims are genuine victims who have suffered harm."
James Carragher, a former principal at the home, is the only person ever to have been convicted of sexually abusing pupils.
Mr Andrews said: "I acknowledge there has only been one member of staff convicted but I have never come across anyone who does not accept there was serious sexual abuse taking place there.
"There is no doubt in my mind that some of the children there suffered at the hands of some members of staff. What we are trying finally to do is find out what the truth of it is.
"The issues surrounding St William's have gone on for many years and we are trying, once and for all, to bring it to a close for all concerned and try to exorcise the ghost of St William's, if we can."
Prosecutors are also considering allegations of perverting the course of justice against a "small number" of victims.
Mr Andrews said: "One or two of the four members of staff the allegations relate to have made complaints that the victims have told lies or embellished the truth in their complaints to gain greater compensation payouts.
"It is only right that we look at these. I believe the majority of these people are genuine victims who have suffered horrendous sexual abuse. However, there are one or two cases that cause us concern and these have gone to the CPS."