Bedfordshire police are investigating St Francis Boys Home in Shefford, near Bedford.
The home was run as part of the St Francis Children’s Society by the Catholic Northampton Diocese and most of the teachers and carers were priests or monks. The Catholic orphanage was closed in the mid 1970s. Police initially began investigating claims of physical and sexual abuse at the home in 2002. The investigation identified failures by the home in reporting an incident to the police after a boy claimed he was molested by an employee during a trip. Following the investigation two former residents of the home won substantial damages as a result of a successful personal injury claim for the sexual abuse they suffered. Despite these two out of court settlements the church refused to admit any wrong doing.
Three further ex-residents of the home spoke out to the BBC yesterday about their “brutal” treatment and abuse by the late Father John Ryan. The men were resident at the home in the 1950s and 1960s. The men have described the memories of the beatings at the home as “…still very raw” they said Father John Ryan “…threw kids around like they were toys. We were all punch bags.” The men told the BBC how the abuse still haunts them today; one described how he breaks down when he talks about it.
At Slater and Gordon, we act for victims of both sexual and physical abuse. These stories demonstrate that physical abuse can have a devastating affect on an individual’s life and can be just as harrowing to a child as sexual abuse.
The victims of abuse at St Francis Boys Home may be able to bring civil claims against the St Francis Children’s Society and/or Catholic Northampton Diocese in relation to the abuse they suffered whilst under their care. Should any of the victims from St Francis Boys Home or anyone that has been affected by the above wish to speak to a member of our specialist abuse team - we are happy to speak on a confidential basis with no obligations. Please contact our experienced specialist abuse team on 020 7657 1658/1502/1653.
Click here for more information on Child Abuse Claims.