Catholic brotherhood faces sex abuse action over teachers it supplied to a school

 

A Catholic brotherhood which supplied teachers to a residential school can be held legally responsible for sexual abuse of boys, leading judges ruled today.

Around 170 men are seeking damages after alleging they were abused as children at St William's in Market Weighton, East Yorkshire, and a former head was convicted of numerous serious sexual offences, the Supreme Court heard.

A panel of five Supreme Court justices today concluded that legal responsibility should be shared between a welfare society which managed the school and a brotherhood which provided teachers.

St William's was founded in 1865 by Catholic benefactors and run locally as a "reformatory school" for boys, Supreme Court justices had been told at a hearing in London.

In 1933, St William's became an approved school for boys convicted of "custodial offences" and in 1973 it became an assisted community home for children in local authority care.

St William's had been managed by the Middlesbrough Diocesan Rescue Society until 1982 then by the Catholic Child Welfare Society (Diocese of Middlesbrough), the Supreme Court - the highest in the UK - was told.

Members of the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, founded in 1680, had taught at the school alongside lay teachers - and a brother always acted as headmaster, judges heard.

In 1990, the then head had been expelled from the brotherhood after it was discovered that he was "guilty of systematic sexual abuse of boys in his care", said judges.

He had been convicted of "numerous counts of serious sexual offences" against boys over a 20-year period and St William's had closed in the early 1990s, the court heard.

Damages claims had been brought by 170 men who alleged that they had been abused by that former head and by other brothers, said judges.

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor