Ex-boss at Yorkshire Catholic children’s home faces jail for third time

St Williams School, Market Weighton
St Williams School, Market Weighton
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A FORMER head of a children’s home in East Yorkshire is facing jail for a third time after he was found guilty of a string of historical child abuse offences.

James Carragher, 75, was found guilty of 21 counts of indecent assault and three serious sexual assaults at Leeds Crown Court on Tuesday, Humberside Police said.

A jury at Leeds Crown Court was told that Carragher was jailed for seven years in 1993 and a further 14 years in 2004 for offences he committed at St William’s - an approved school for boys with behavioural problems in Market Weighton, East Yorkshire.

Carragher was on trial with a former chaplain at St William’s, Anthony McCallen, 69.

McCallen was found guilty of 10 counts of indecent assault and another serious sexual assault, by a jury which had been deliberating for more than a week.

The jury was told 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.

Carragher was principal of St William’s, which was run by the Catholic De La Salle order, from 1976 to 1990.

Humberside Police confirmed the pair were found guilty this week of offences against 11 victims and not guilty of offences against three further complainants.

The jury did not reach verdicts over four more alleged victims.

Carragher and McCallen are due before Leeds Crown Court on January 4 when they are expected to be sentenced.

Detective Superintendent Christine Wilson, of Humberside Police, said: “Today’s conviction is the result of an extremely lengthy and complex investigation, which has taken place over the last five years and has involved taking statements from many hundred people.

“The behaviour of Carragher and McCallen came to light after one of their victims had the courage to come forward and speak out about the abuse he had suffered.

“This in turn led us to identify further victims, who had all been targeted by these men while they were in a position of trust, which they then abused.

“Cases such as these that involve historic allegations are very difficult to investigate and I would like to commend the bravery of all of the victims in giving evidence and can only hope that today’s conviction will provide some sort of closure for them.”

They were convicted as part of Operation Reno, an investigation into historic allegations.

The Diocese of Middlesbrough, which owned the home, said: “We condemn any behaviour which harms young people. The behaviour of Anthony McCallen whilst he was a Priest was a betrayal of the trust that was placed in him from the Diocese of Middlesbrough. We now have robust safeguarding in place to ensure that similar situations do not arise in the future. We hope now that justice has been done and that those affected by the abuse can move on with their lives.”