Bullying Yorkshire teachers who raped boys in their care could die in jail

Roy Lovatt
Roy Lovatt
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A housemaster and a director of education who raped and sexually abused boys at a children's home have been jailed for a total of 46 years.

A court heard predatory paedophiles Roy Lovatt and Roy Allen took advantage of a culture of bullying to prey on the most vulnerable young members of society to satisfy their perverted sexual desires.

Between them, Lovatt and Allen subjected five victims to depraved sexual offences at Thorp Arch Grange, near Wetherby, during the 1970s and 1980s

Lovatt, now 71, a former Catholic priest, also committed offences against four other youngsters not connected to the home. He was jailed for 28 years.

Allen, now 72, was director of education at the time of the offending and went on to become headmaster.

He was given an 18-year prison sentence.

Lawyers for the men said it was likely they would die in prison.

Harrowing

Jailing the two men today after a trial at Leeds Crown Court, Judge Neil Clark said: "The court and the jury could not fail to have been touched by the tormented childhood memories of your victims that now lay in tatters about this courtroom

"The two of you frankly make an irony of the title 'court order' that was imposed on the children you had care of.

"You were employed to educate them, nuture them and care for them.

"That is what the people of Yorkshire paid you to do, what they expected you to do and their parents trusted you to do.

"However you did not. You exploited their vulnerability so you could satisfy your lust."

The judge described the evidence presented during the four-week trial as "truly harrowing and emotional".

Victims were forced to give evidence and describe the trauma they had been subjected to decades ago.

Among the most vulnerable

Lovatt and Allen were found guilty of a total of 21 offences.

Some of the offences would be considered as rape under present day laws.

Lovatt had earlier pleaded guilty to 25 sex offences committed against four other youngsters.

Some of the abuse took place within his accommodation at Thorp Arch Grange.

Boys at the residential school were among the most vulnerable in society.

Richard Wright, QC, prosecuting, said many of the boys were troubled and often came from terrible domestic environments.

Some had become involved in petty offending, others in the commission of more serious crime.

Victims were too shocked and ashamed to tell anyone about the abuse they had suffered and did not think they would be believed because of their social circumstances.

Culture of bullying

Judge Clark said: "There was a culture of bullying and control at Thorp Arch Grange.

"It was during that period when the culture was in place that you were offending.

"The background was one where, to some people, the boys were simply objects to be picked upon, bullied and utterly controlled.

"Your victims felt utterly unable to complain.

"They were trapped at a school where they had no choice. They could not leave and were regarded in any event as naughty boys who could not be believed.

"Your behaviour has continued to haunt their adult lives, that is absolutely clear.

"Their feelings of shame and embarrassment have remained with them for the decades that have past since."

Lovatt, now of Queen Street, Redcar, was found guilty of five offences of buggery and four of indecent assault.

Allen, now of Moseley Road, Burnley, was found guilty of two offences of buggery, attempted buggery and nine offences of indecent assault.

Time is no barrier to justice

After the case, senior investigating officer, Detective Superintendent Jon Morgan said: "These men had responsibility for the welfare and safety of vulnerable children in their care but instead chose to abuse their positions of trust for their own sexual gratification.

"The long-term traumatic effect that their actions have had on the victims from such an early stage in their lives should never be underestimated. We hope that seeing these men finally brought to justice will provide some degree of reassurance to the victims.

"We also hope this case will highlight how the passage of time is no barrier to justice, and it should not deter victims from coming forward and reporting offences. The police and our partner agencies have never been more acutely focused on safeguarding the most vulnerable in society and we will continue to treat any offences of this nature very seriously."

Caroline May, from the Crown Prosecution Service added: “These vulnerable young boys were in need of compassion, care and support, but Thorpe Arch Grange was not a place of safety for them. Whilst some members of staff were undoubtedly dedicated to their work, others were sexual predators who used violence and fear as a means of control over the boys.

“They abused their own positions of authority and responsibility to sexually assault, and in the most extreme instances, to rape, the children in their care.

“Far from being caring professionals, these two men were cynical sex offenders. Attitudes were very different in the 70’s and 80’s and these defendants deliberately sought out contact with vulnerable children, relying on the fact that they, as adults, would be believed should the children ever complain. It is hard to imagine a greater abuse of trust.

“Despite the traumatic abuse they endured at Thorpe Arch Grange, the victims have demonstrated considerable bravery in coming forward and giving evidence in this case, enabling us to work with West Yorkshire Police to bring a strong prosecution case against their abusers.”

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