A SEX abuse victim has seen the Boys’ Brigade captain who preyed on him as a child brought to justice after more than 50 years.
Malcolm Healey, 84, hid behind his position as a respected pillar of the community in Fulneck, near Pudsey, Leeds, to prey on Hugh Norton.
Mr Norton, now 67, agreed to waive his anonymity to reveal the years of torment that Healey’s abuse had caused him after finding the courage to make a complaint against him.
Mr Norton said: “For half a lifetime Healey has hidden his sordid secrets behind a carefully constructed veneer of respectability while posing as a pillar of the community while I have struggled beneath a burden of guilt and shame.
“I am grateful that the burden has at last been lifted and the empty shell of Healey’s life of lies has been exposed.
“For many years he has been seen as a ‘Mr Nice Guy’. But the reality is that he is a snake in the grass who has finally been dragged out of the shadows.”
Healey was jailed for two years yesterday after pleading guilty to 15 offences of indecent assault of a boy aged under 16. Healey was also a respected member of the Fulneck Moravian Church committee for many years. Leeds Crown Court heard that he often abused his victim during church services.
Mr Norton said: “I hate him because of the fact that I lost a lot of good years and friendships with my mum and dad because of what he did. It was a cynical betrayal of trust in the most callous of ways.”
Healey began abusing Mr Norton when he was ten. The abuse continued until he was 15, when he joined the Army in order to escape from Healey’s clutches.
Mr Norton added: “When the offending commenced I was a bright pupil at my local school and, after winning a scholarship to Leeds Grammar School my aspirations and hopes of pursuing a high-powered military career were encouraged by my teachers and parents.
“In the event my early adolescence was clouded by the shame, fear and associated doubts that this perverse relationship had bred. The relief at escaping the clutches of this evil man was immense and immediate though I have been unable to escape the effects of his behaviour towards me throughout my life.
“It is only now in my late years and with the support of my present wife that I have felt able to confront this demon from the past.”
Healey targeted his young victim and groomed him before subjecting him to years of abuse.
The first offence against Mr Norton took place during a camping trip. Howard Shaw, prosecuting, said Healey would then abuse him after Boys’ Brigade meetings.
The court heard the victim could remember incidents from when he was aged around 12 when Healey would target him as he was in the church’s choir stalls.
On one occasion when he was 14, Healey went to the boy’s home when he was ill in bed and indecently assaulted him when his mother went to make tea.
Nicholas Hammond, mitigating, said Healey was remorseful. He said his client had a specific sexual interest in Mr Norton but not in boys generally.