THREE people have been arrested in an investigation into alleged sexual abuse dating back more than 30 years at a Scarborough boys’ home.
Detectives from North Yorkshire Police are investigating abuse that was said to have taken place at Throxenby Hall in Lady Edith’s Drive.
Dozens of former pupils of Throxenby Hall Community home, which housed boys with behavioural problems for nearly half a century, have been interviewed as part of the probe, which is not linked to cases against Jimmy Savile and Peter Jaconelli.
The home, which closed in 1991, has since been turned into flats and many of those who attended have moved on to other parts of the county.
North Yorkshire Police has been using Facebook to track down people it believes attended Throxenby Hall.
A spokesman for the force told The Scarborough News: “North Yorkshire Police is investigating allegations of historic sexual abuse at a former approved residential school in the Scarborough area.
It was just something you expected and didn’t speak up about.
“We have been speaking to a number of former residents, and enquiries are ongoing in liaison with North Yorkshire County Council.
“Specialist support is being provided to the victims while the investigation continues.
“Three people have been arrested as part of the investigation and released on bail.”
Throxenby Hall, which was run by the county council’s social services department, took in boys from the age of nine from as far away as Middlesbrough and Hull.
One former pupil (Victim 1), who did not wish to be named, said he had met with police this week.
He said: “I had seen from people I was still in contact with that police were contacting boys who went to the school.
“I got a call last week from detectives asking if they could come to see me. When we met they asked me about what I’d seen at the school and also asked me about some members of staff in particular.”
He said he had seen physical abuse at the school but had not suffered any sexual abuse, but said other boys did talk about it.
He added: “I was sent to Throxenby at the age of 12 as I had not been going to my school.
“I came from away and there was a feeling that the boys whose parents did not live in Scarborough got a rougher deal as [the staff] knew your parents were not just going to turn up asking questions.
“I remember once I was walking down a corridor and found a member of staff had a boy in a headlock and was punching him, I just lowered my eyes and walked back the way I’d came. It was just something you expected and didn’t speak up about.
“I was punched myself on a number of occasions and, like other boys, was watched whilst we showered.
“I don’t think it was a policy as if you said you were having a shower most of the staff did nothing but there were ones who would always make a point of standing there whilst we did it. At the age of 12 you think nothing of it but looking back you start to wonder.”
One of the most serious allegations he makes involves a camping trip some of the boys attended.
“I remember there was camping trip and when they got back a boy claimed he’d been touched sexually by a staff member when he was in his tent at night.
“The person he accused left the school within days of the trip, and the boy was also sent off to another school shortly after. I never saw any police come about asking questions.”
Another boy (Victim 2) who stayed at Throxenby Hall, known locally as Frogga Hall, told The Scarborough News that police had asked him directly if he’d ever seen disgraced DJ Jimmy Savile and former Scarborough mayor Peter Jaconelli at Throxenby.
He added: “I was targeted repeatedly by members of staff during my time at the school for physical abuse. I was an easy target, I had not parents to contact, no-one to stand up for me.”
Victim 1 added that he had never seen either Savile or Jaconelli.
He said: “Looking back, it seems strange knowing what we know now that neither of them was ever at the school but I can not recall it. You would remember meeting Jimmy Savile.”
One unforeseen footnote the investigation has uncovered revolves around the fate of many of those who attended Throxenby.
“During my interview the police told me they had found that many of the boys they were trying to contact had committed suicide,” Victim 1 added.
About Throxenby Hall.
Throxenby Hall was acquired by North Riding Council in 1946 to be a home for boys. It was later transferred to the control of North Yorkshire County Council’s Social Services Department.
It catered for up to 60 boys and, at any given time, had 20 social workers and extra non-resident staff on site.
Many of the pupils were committed from the Juvenile Court or by social services.
A brochure for the hall, seen by The Scarborough News, says the aim of the home is to “treat the boy as an individual” and “provide a substitute for family life”.
In a section marked “Discipline” it states “there is no corporal punishment at Throxenby Hall.”