A FORMER head of a Yorkshire children’s home run by a Catholic order who has already served 21 years in prison for sexually abusing boys has been jailed for a further nine years.
James Carragher was head from 1976 to 1990 of St William’s - an approved school for boys with behavioural problems in Market Weighton, East Yorkshire, run by the Catholic De La Salle order.
Carragher, 75, was jailed for seven years in 1993 and a further 14 years in 2004 for offences he committed at St William’s.
On Monday, he was jailed for nine years at Leeds Crown Court by a judge who said he and co-defendant Anthony McCallen had the boys at the school “effectively trapped” and added: “It is difficult to imagine a worse case of breach of trust”.
Judge Geoffrey Marson QC told Carragher he had to take into account the sentence he would have passed if he had heard all the evidence from all three trials - in 1993, 2004 and 2015.
The judge said this would have led him to a sentence of 30 years in prison, from which he deducted the 21 years he had already served.
McCallen, 69, a former chaplain at St William’s, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for a series of historical sex offences.
The jury heard how McCallen had also been convicted before - of abusing two boys in the 1990s when he was also found in possession of indecent photographs of boys, some of which he took through spyholes as they showered and used the toilet.
Judge Marson said: “Each of you has a long standing, deeply engrained sexual interest in teenage boys.
“It’s an interest, I have no doubt, that continues to persist.”
Carragher, of Cearns Road, Prenton, Merseyside, and McCallen, of Whernside Crescent, Ingleby Barwick, Stockton-on-Tees, denied all the charges against them but were found guilty of a series of offences by a jury just before Christmas.
The judge said: “It’s perfectly clear that each of you targeted some of the most vulnerable boys. You groomed them, abused them for your own sexual gratification, then threatened them to ensure they did not complain. And you, Carragher, were physically violent.”
He said the 11 victims suffered “severe long-term, continuing psychological harm as a result of what you did”.
Judge Marson explained how boys had been placed at the school because of difficult circumstances in their lives and were among the most vulnerable in society.
He said Carragher and McCallen knew the boys would not complain at the time because they would not be believed.
“They were effectively trapped,” he said, “and there was no escape from you.”
Judge Marson said: “Each of you contributed significantly to their misery.”
The judge said McCallen told one victim he was was “paying for his sins” during the abuse.
And he said it was clear the pair had shown no remorse as they “lied persistently” in the witness box.
Carragher was found guilty of 21 counts of indecent assault and three serious sexual assaults in December.
McCallen was found guilty of 10 counts of indecent assault and another serious sexual assault, by the jury which deliberated for for more than a week.
The pair were found not guilty of offences against three further complainants. The jury did not reach verdicts over four more alleged victims and the judge ordered these charges to lie on file.
Solicitor David Greenwood, who represents 109 men who were sexually assaulted at St William’s, said a civil compensation case started in 2004 has still not reached a conclusion.
Mr Greenwood said: “Whilst I welcome the sentences imposed on Carragher and MacCallen 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.”
Mr Greenwood said: “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.”