compensation

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Ministry of Defence pays out £2m to settle cadets’ sexual abuse claims

Published December 29, 2014 by misty534

British army military cadets.

The Ministry of Defence has paid out more than £2m in out-of-court settlements over the past three years as a result of claims of sexual abuse against young people within the ranks of the cadet forces.

The allegations included sex abuse rituals performed by teenage boys on younger cadets in their charge, as well as the case of a cadet who was raped and gave birth to her abuser’s child.

Eight payouts, totalling £544,213, were made this year, according to records released in response to a freedom of information request from the Guardian seeking figures for payments for alleged sexual abuse within the Army Cadets, Combined Cadet Force, and Air Cadet Organisation.

The data, which was recorded in a way that did not distinguish between the various cadet groups, shows that £1,475,844 was paid out in five payments in 2012. Payouts in 2013 totalled £64,782 and there were no payouts in 2011.

While some of the settlements reached in the last few years were made to adults for abuse perpetrated when they were children, some are understood to relate to much more recent abuse claims.

Rebecca Sheriff, a senior solicitor at Bolt Burdon Kemp, who has acted for several clients in claims arising from abuse suffered in the Army Cadets at the hands of military staff, said: “It is common practice for sex offenders to seek out positions of authority in organisations such as the Army Cadets, and vulnerable children need to be safeguarded from this risk. It is terrible that often these children have joined the cadets with a view to a career in the armed services, which they are unable to pursue as a result of abuse by people that they should have been able to trust.”

The mother of a boy abused by two older teenage cadets said she had yet to receive an apology from the cadet authorities although they agreed to an out-of-court settlement of just over £23,000.

The abuse of the boy happened at a cadets’ weekend in East Anglia and allegedly involved the two older boys going into a dormitory over the course of a number of nights and lying naked on top of the younger cadets, putting their penises in the boys’ mouths. One youngster was allegedly made to drink coffee laced with urine. She reported the abuse to police, who, she says, interviewed the alleged perpetrators nine months later. They were not charged but were given a warning.

The mother said: “If something like that goes on and is not right then somebody needs to take responsibility, and the cadets had to pay what they paid to compensate for all the hurt … But the two lads have got away with it, they just received warnings, and it was put on file. [The police] said it was bullying and intimidation of a sexual nature – because it wasn’t anything like a rape.”

She added: “I believe that they had been doing it for a while. It makes me sick and saddened inside. It really, really, does. I was told that the cadets had their own internal investigation but I’m not aware of what happened.”

In the period between the incident being reported to police and action being taken to detain the boys, her son, she says, was chased by one of the abusers near his home and subjected to intimidation on Facebook.

“My son had wanted to go into the army to learn a trade and a career. He loved it beforehand, so that was a massive disappointment to him as well. But immediately afterwards he was left with so much guilt. That was what hurt him the most. He was afraid of his own shadow and began to get really, really, angry and became withdrawn and afraid. The effect that it had on my boy, it was so sad for me to see.”

Another out-of-court settlement involved a claimant who was sexually abused by an adult cadet instructor while she was a member of the group. The abuse started when she was 14 and progressed to rape, which led to her becoming pregnant and giving birth to the abuser’s child. After the abuse, she suffered from chronic post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic dysthymia (a form of depression) and a number of complex psychological problems. The MoD admitted liability at an early stage and settled the claim for £210,000.

The settlements made in 2012 include a successful claim for £900,000 by four people who were abused when they were young members of the Army Cadets in Harborne, Birmingham.

Severe sexual abuse was perpetrated by two of the cadet force instructors behind the closed doors of an army hut, rifle range, and at camp. Lawyers for the victims said that abuse was openly acknowledged within what they called “a permissive atmosphere” and appeared accepted as normal.

One of the instructors, Peter Cooper, was convicted of buggery and indecent assault in September 2007 in relation to one of the claimants. At the time of his arrest he was a serving police officer with the West Midlands constabulary. The other instructor is now dead.

An MoD spokesperson said: “We take any allegation of abuse extremely seriously. All adult volunteers undergo enhanced criminal record checks and are made fully aware of their responsibility to protect children from harm. Any suspicion of bullying, harassment or abuse will be dealt with immediately and any allegation of a criminal nature is handed to the police. This is reinforced throughout all safeguarding training.”

Another freedom of information request by the Guardian revealed that 12 allegations – of which 10 were referred to the police – were logged in 2014 by the child protection officer employed by the Army Cadets (which has 46,000 teenage cadets and 8,500 adult volunteers in the UK). The child protection officer has logged more than 36 allegations of sexual abuse since 2011.

Fury as paedophile gets £600 payout for missing possessions

Published November 6, 2014 by misty534

Lavan

Convicted pervert’s compensation claim upheld in out of court settlement

Dumfries paedophile Mark Lavan has won a cash settlement from prison bosses over missing personal possessions.

The 25-year-old mounted a legal action for £1,500 compensation after letters and photos were lost during a jail transfer.

Fury erupted after it was revealed that an out of court settlement, understood to be for between £500 and £600, was reached on Thursday.

Dumfriesshire MSP Elaine Murray slammed the deal as “completely ridiculous”.

She said: “What a complete waste of tax payers’ money. Mr Lavan was originally offered a generous £100 by the Scottish Prison Service.

“For them to give in to his demands and give him almost six times that is completely ridiculous.

“I’m not saying he shouldn’t have been compensated for lost property, but it is not right for someone who commits a horrible offence to then make money out of the system and therefore decent, law-abiding and hard-working people.”

Former children’s entertainer Lavan was jailed for almost five years last March when he was was convicted of having sex with a 14-year-old girl.

He was caught when police swooped at his home in Lochside after the address was linked to a subscriber of a child-porn site.

When police searched his computer they found more than 60,000 indecent images on it – including many featuring the 14-year-old.

Lavan was convicted for a second time at Aylesbury Crown Court in Buckinghamshire in September 2013 when he admitted sex offences with another girl.

A spokesman for the Scottish Prison Service said they would not comment on individual cases.

Daily Record

Suffolk abuse victim rejects £1,000 compensation sum

Published March 29, 2013 by misty534

Image

A man who was abused at a Suffolk care home has rejected the ombudsman’s suggestion of £1,000 in compensation.

Lawrence McLean, 38, was abused at the former Four Elms children’s home near Eye where he was placed by Suffolk County Council in 1983.

The Local Government Ombudsman’s report said the council should pay £1,000 and apologise to Mr McLean.

Mr McLean said it was not enough, while the council said it was still in discussions with the ombudsman.

Mr McLean said he was abused by staff at the children’s home at Stonham Parva, which has since closed and is now a different children’s home.

Victor Copperman and Thea Trevelyan, who ran Four Elms, were shot dead in 1987 by a woman who believed her daughter was abused there.

‘Outrage and uncertainty’

The ombudsman previously suggested Mr McLean should be paid £6,500, but the council rejected that figure and instead offered to pay £200.

The ombudsman’s latest report said the county council should pay him £1,000 “for the outrage and uncertainty caused to Mr X [Lawrence McLean] by the council’s actions” of placing him at Four Elms.

The report also said the council “should apologise in writing to Mr X”.

Mr McLean, who claimed the childhood abuse led him into a life of childhood prostitution and crime, said: “I’ve looked at other cases of abuse and some of these people are getting £40,000-70,000 and somebody’s offering £1,000 – I don’t get that.”

A council spokesperson said: “This is still an open case being investigated by the Local Government Ombudsman and we are in active discussion with his office.”

In 2010, the council’s own investigation found there was “a substantial body of recording of the view by professionals that Lawrence McLean had been psychologically and sexually abused during the period of his residence at Four Elms.”