Monday, 15 August 2016

Medomsley investigation won't be affected by Goddard inquiry upheaval, Durham Police vow















Durham Police Headquarters
 
Durham Police has moved to reassure victims that inquiries into historic abuse at Medomsley Detention Centre will not be impacted by the Goddard inquiry upheaval.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) fell into disarray after Dame Lowell Goddard resigned last week following criticism of her salary package and knowledge of British law.

Dame Goddard was the third chairman to do so since the IICSA was announced in July 2014 and Professor Alexis Jay OBE, a former social worker who led an inquiry into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham, has taken over as chair.

Det Supt Paul Goundry, senior investigating officer for Operation Seabrook which is investigating the alleged physical and sexual abuse against detainees at Medomsley Detention Centre near Consett in the 1970s and 1980s, said the changes to the IICSA will not impact the police investigation.

Det Supt Goundry said: “Can I take this opportunity to reassure you that nothing has changed for those of us working on Seabrook and there will be no change.

“The IICSA is completely separate from any criminal investigations being carried out by the police and our work will not be affected by Justice Goddard’s resignation.

“Ourselves and the CPS remain completely committed to ensuring a thorough and professional investigation and this will not be affected by any changes to the IICSA.

“Medomsley Detention Centre will continue to be one of the institutions looked at in detail by the independent inquiry.”

It was announced last November that Medomsley would be a case study within the ‘children in custodial institutions’ investigations focusing on institutional failures.

Victims have raised concerns that many victims’ cases will be ignored as they were over the age of 18 at the time of the abuse at the detention centre which held young people up to the age of 21.

Operation Seabrook is one of the biggest child abuse probes in the UK and detectives have heard from more than 1,350 former inmates who say they were abused at the centre.

The CPS are considering prosecution files on the 31 surviving main suspects identified in the case.

Earlier this week the Chronicle revealed that the IICSA excluded the former Stanhope Castle School in County Durham as a case study, despite solicitors telling the inquiry that victims suffered “pervasive and sadistic” abuse at the approved school. (http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/cost-excluding-stanhope-castle-child-11715535)

Source 

Operation Seabrook - Medomsley Detention Centre

 05/08/2016

​ ‘Operation Seabrook’ is the criminal investigation into allegations of sexual and physical abuse perpetrated by staff against detainees at Medomsley Detention Centre near Consett, County Durham.

It was launched in August 2013 and is investigating incidents which happened over many years, principally the 1970's and 1980's. 

The three main aims of the investigation are:
* to ensure support is provided for victims so they are in a better place after contacting the police    
* to gain the fullest understanding of how Medomsley operated during those years 
* to secure evidence so that any potential offenders are brought to justice.

The Senior Investigating Officer (SIO) is Det Supt Paul Goundry (pictured below) and Det Con Tracey Etchells is the victim co-ordinator.

Anyone needing to make contact with them in writing can email  operation.seabrook@durham.pnn.police.uk

The 'Seabrook' team has now heard from more than 1,350 former inmates at Medomsley who have reported they were abused while detained at the centre.

All of the surviving main suspects - 31 in total - have been identified, interviewed and prosecution files submitted to the CPS for advice.  This advice will then identify those individuals who are likely to be charged and also which victims or witnesses are likely to give evidence.



Update on the Independent Inquiry Into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA):
As many of you will have seen or heard from recent media reports, the chairman of the IICSA, Dame Lowell Goddard resigned from her post at the beginning of August.

Some of you have contacted us to ask if this news has implications for Operation Seabrook, which is to be one of the cases considered by the IICSA.

Det Supt Paul Goundry said; “Can I take this opportunity to reassure you that nothing has changed for those of us working on Seabrook and there will be no change.

“The IICSA is completely separate from any criminal investigations being carried out by the police and our work will not be affected by Justice Goddard’s resignation.  
“Ourselves and the CPS remain completely committed to ensuring a thorough and professional investigation and this will not be affected by any changes to the IICSA. 

“Medomsley Detention Centre will continue to be one of the institutions looked at in detail by the independent inquiry and the Government has begun the process of identifying a successor to Justice Goddard.”

It was announced last November that Medomsley would be a case study within the ‘Children in Custodial Institutions’ investigations. It is important to remember that the inquiry will focus on institutional failures, rather than individual criminal guilt.

Important - If you are a victim and your contact details have changed, for example, you have moved house or have a new phone number then please email the Seabrook team or call them via 101 so they can update their records.

Durham Constabulary continues to work with various organisations to provide the best possible support for victims. Access to support is available without the need to contact the police for those who feel unable to do so.

Independent Psychotherapist Zoe Lodrick



The following organisations can be contacted independently of the police for support .

NSPCC FREEPHONE HELPLINE (24 hrs):
National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children                                                                                    0808 800 5000
The helpline is available for anyone who has concerns about a child or anyone including adults who wish to discuss their own experience of abuse as a child or young person.
Contact can also be made via e mail : help@nspcc.org.uk  or by text 88858
Contact can be made anonymously if the caller so wishes.

NAPAC
National Association for People Abused in ChildhoodFreephone from all landlines and mobile networks 0808 801 0331.
Calls do not show on your bill; lines are open 10am to 9pm Monday - Thursday, and 10am to 6pm on Friday. NAPAC is unable to take messages or ring back. 

The Meadows:
The Meadows Sexual Assault Referral Centre (Darlington and Co Durham) 0191 301 8554
The Meadows will accept calls between the hours of 9am-3.30 pm Monday to Friday and can arrange one-to-one counselling sessions and can make referrals to similar centres throughout the UK.

Counselling does not involve discussing what has happened in relation to the assault, it aims to help you work through your feelings to aid the healing process.
Staff at the Meadows will not contact the police without your consent unless there are current concerns in respect of a child or vulnerable adult. 

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Ex-clergyman guilty of 'sinister' Newton Aycliffe sex abuse














 
Image caption Gibson had denied all the charges against him

A retired clergyman has been convicted of "sinister and deliberate" sex abuse in the 1970s and 80s.

Granville Gibson, 80, abused two men aged 18 and 26 while he was vicar at St Claire's Church in Newton Aycliffe, Durham Crown Court heard.

He denied the charges but was convicted of two counts of indecent assault after trial. He was cleared of five other charges.

The Church of England issued an "unreserved apology" to the victims.

The court heard Gibson, who was later made an archdeacon, was guilty of "sinister and deliberate" sex abuse and a gross breach of trust.

A jury took six hours to find him guilty of indecently assaulting two men who had been working on church property.

Gibson, from Darlington, was found not guilty of one serious sexual offence and four indecent assault charges.

He will be sentenced at a later date.

'Profoundly sorry'

After the verdicts, the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Rev Paul Butler, said: "We offer an unreserved apology to all the survivors and those affected by this news.

"We commend the bravery of those who brought these allegations forward, acknowledging how difficult and distressing this would have been.

"We are profoundly sorry for the abuse perpetrated by Mr Gibson and remain committed to doing everything possible to ensure the wellbeing of children, young people and adults, who look to us for respect and care.

"Abuse is a terrible crime and a grievous breach of trust, which has lifelong effects."

He added a review would be conducted by the Diocesan Safeguarding Management Group.

Source

Church of England clergyman found guilty of historical sex offences 



George Granville Gibson, the former archdeacon of Auckland, is found guilty of the indecent assault of two young men
A senior Church of England clergyman has been found guilty of sex offences committed against two young men in the 1970s and 80s amid claims of a church cover-up.

A jury at Durham crown court found George Granville Gibson, 80, the former archdeacon of Auckland, guilty of two counts of indecent assault against two men, then aged 18 and 26. He was found not guilty of buggery and four other charges of indecent assault. Two charges of indecent assault were dropped.

The court was told that the former bishop of Durham, John Habgood, had been told about Gibson’s inappropriate behaviour, which occurred when he was a vicar at St Clare’s Church in Newton Aycliffe. A former clergyman told the court he “got the push” from the church after raising concerns about Gibson.

Gibson was found guilty of indecently assaulting that man.
One of those giving evidence against Gibson accused the C of E of a “massive cover-up”. He said: “I didn’t make a complaint because no one would believe me, no one would believe that a man of the cloth would do that. I thought and still think no one would believe me. He was a vicar.”

The prosecution had set out a case of the senior clergyman’s “systematic, deliberate” abuse of vulnerable men. Gibson admitted in court to having had homosexual urges, but said he had only ever been sexually attracted to men, not young boys.

In 1993, Gibson was promoted to archdeacon of Auckland, effectively number two to the bishop of Durham.

Responding to the verdict, Paul Butler, the present bishop of Durham and until recently the C of E’s lead bishop on safeguarding, said: “We offer an unreserved apology to all the survivors and those affected by this news. We commend the bravery of those who brought these allegations forward, acknowledging how difficult and distressing this would have been.

“ We are profoundly sorry for the abuse perpetrated by Mr Gibson and remain committed to doing everything possible to ensure the wellbeing of children, young people and adults, who look to us for respect and care. Abuse is a terrible crime and a grievous breach of trust, which has lifelong effects.”

Butler said he had ordered an independent review of the circumstances surrounding the case.
Gibson was released on bail to be sentenced at a later date.

Source 

Senior Church of England clergyman found guilty of historic sex abuse

Ruth Gledhill Christian Today Contributing Editor

The Bishop of Durham has apologised for abuse committed by Granville Gibson.  
 
A retired clergyman in the Church of England faces a possible prison sentence after being found guilty of historic sex abuse.

The Rev Granville Gibson, aged 80, was found guilty at Durham Crown Court on two charges of indecent assault. He was cleared of five other historic sex offences.

A former member of the General Synod and former Archdeacon of Durham, he will go on the sex offenders' register. He will be sentenced at a later date.

The offences took place during his time as vicar of St Clare's, Newton Aycliffe, the court was told.

The court heart that senior churchmen knew of allegations against him but no action was taken.

Bishop of Durham Paul Butler said: "Following the conviction today of the Venerable Granville Gibson on two charges of indecent assault, we offer an unreserved apology to all the survivors and those affected by this news. We commend the bravery of those who brought these allegations forward, acknowledging how difficult and distressing this would have been.

"We are profoundly sorry for the abuse perpetrated by Mr Gibson and remain committed to doing everything possible to ensure the wellbeing of children, young people and adults, who look to us for respect and care. Abuse is a terrible crime and a grievous breach of trust, which has lifelong effects."
Source 

Bishop of Durham promises review after vicar found guilty of historic sex offences 

Former Archdeacon, George Granville Gibson, was found guilty of two counts of indecently assaulting men at Durham Crown Court 

George Granville Gibson
The Bishop of Durham has apologised after a former vicar was found guilty of indecently assaulting men at his church in the 1970s and 1980s.

The Church of England has also said it will investigate accusations that the then Bishop of Durham, John Habgood, swept concerns about the former Archdeacon George Granville Gibson “under the carpet” after one of his victim’s approached him.

Gibson, 80, of Worsley Park in Darlington was found guilty of two counts of indecently assaulting vulnerable men, at St Clares Church, in Newton Aycliffe , where he was a vicar.

One vulnerable victim was just 18-years-old.

He told the court that Gibson - who went on to become the Archdeacon of Auckland during his distinguished career with the Church - appeared to be friendly and caring.

However within a few weeks the vicar’s tickling and play fighting took a sinister turn and he indecently assaulted the teenager.

“I felt sick, I thought it wasn’t happening I thought it was a mistake,” the victim told jurors during the nine day trial.

Durham Crown Court heard that there had been a “massive cover up” of Gibson’s abuse, and that a clergyman who raised concerns with Bishop Habgood was “forced out of the Church of England”.

Gibson abused his revered position in the church to target vulnerable men who wouldn’t be believed if they spoke out against him, the prosecution had said.

The Right Revd Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham said: “Following the conviction today of the Venerable Granville Gibson on two charges of indecent assault, we offer an unreserved apology to all the survivors and those affected by this news.

“We commend the bravery of those who brought these allegations forward, acknowledging how difficult and distressing this would have been.

“We are profoundly sorry for the abuse perpetrated by Mr Gibson and remain committed to doing everything possible to ensure the wellbeing of children, young people and adults, who look to us for respect and care.

“Abuse is a terrible crime and a grievous breach of trust, which has lifelong effects.”

The Bishop will ask the chair of the diocesan safeguarding management group to commission a full and independent review of the circumstances surrounding the case.

Gibson was found not guilty on four further counts of indecent assault and one count of buggery.
Te former vicar was found not guilty of abusing a third alleged victim who claimed he was indecently assaulted by Gibson between the ages of 11 and 15.

The jury also found Gibson not guilty of indecently assaulting a teenager at Medomsley Detention Centre.

Gibson appeared unsteady on his feet in the dock but did not show any emotion as the verdicts were delivered.

Judge Christopher Prince suspended sentencing the 80-year-old until after guidance is issued from the Court of Appeal in October.

He said: “I don’t want to pass sentencing which would be in conflict with guidance issued by the court of appeal weeks later.”

Gibson has been released on bail until sentencing.

Durham Constabulary arrested the former vicar in his home in April 2014 over the abuse which dates back 39 years.

The case officer Detective Constable Scott Denham said he hoped that the convictions would reassure victims of sexual abuse and encourage them to come forward.

He said: “No matter how long ago the abuse took place we will carry out inquiries professionally, impartially and thoroughly, with a view to seeking out all available evidence.

“We will also signpost the victims to any appropriate support and counselling they may need.”

 Source 

Bishop apologises to archdeacon's abuse victims

 

Thu 04 Aug 2016
By Antony Bushfield 
 
The Bishop of Durham has given an "unreserved apology" to the survivors of sex attacks by a former archdeacon.
Retired clergyman Granville Gibson, 79, was found guilty after a trial at Durham Crown Court of two counts of indecent assault, dating back to the late 1970s.

He quickly rose through the clergy in the Diocese of Durham to become Archdeacon of Auckland before his retirement.

A jury cleared him of five other charges.

The Diocese of Durham confirmed a full and independent review of the circumstances surrounding the case had been launched.

In a statement the Bishop of Durham Rt Rev Paul Butler said: "Following the conviction today of the Venerable Granville Gibson on two charges of indecent assault, we offer an unreserved apology to all the survivors and those affected by this news.

"We commend the bravery of those who brought these allegations forward, acknowledging how difficult and distressing this would have been.

"We are profoundly sorry for the abuse perpetrated by Mr Gibson and remain committed to doing everything possible to ensure the well-being of children, young people and adults, who look to us for respect and care.

"Abuse is a terrible crime and a grievous breach of trust, which has lifelong effects."

He added that his prayers were with everyone involved and that anyone with safeguarding concerns should contact officials.

 Source 

Former County Durham vicar found guilty of historic sex offences

4 August 2016 at 1:08pm  
80 year old Granville Gibson pictured on his way into court Credit: ITV Tyne Tees
 
A retired senior clergyman has been found guilty of two historic sex offences.

After a trial at Durham Crown Court, 80 year old Granville Gibson was convicted of two counts of indecent assault against young men.

The charges relate to his time as a vicar in County Durham between 30 and 40 years ago.

Gibson was cleared of a further 5 historic sexual offences, including 2 ​involving ​a boy.

Gibson will be placed on the sex offenders' register. He will be sentenced at a later date and was released on bail.

The judge told Gibson that all sentencing options will be open to the court, including custody.

Gibson has held a number of senior roles in the church, including Archdeacon of Auckland​ in the Diocese of Durham.​

The court heard he was also a member of the General Synod.
Following the conviction today of the Venerable Granville Gibson on two charges of indecent assault, we offer an unreserved apology to all the survivors and those affected by this news.
We commend the bravery of those who brought these allegations forward, acknowledging how difficult and distressing this would have been.
“We are profoundly sorry for the abuse perpetrated by Mr Gibson and remain committed to doing everything possible to ensure the wellbeing of children, young people and adults, who look to us for respect and care. Abuse is a terrible crime and a grievous breach of trust, which has lifelong effects.
“Our prayers are with everyone concerned and should anyone be affected by today’s news or want to share concerns please contact the Diocesan Safeguarding Contact Line: 0800 689 4704”
– Right Revd Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham
Anybody with concerns can contact the Diocesan Safeguarding Contact Line: 0800 689 4704.
Source 
Bruce Unwin, Chief Reporter (Durham) 

Bishop offers 'unreserved apology' to victims of churchman found guilty of sex abuse


THE Bishop of Durham has called for a “full and independent” review following the conviction of a former senior clergyman for historic sex assaults.

It follows claims of a “cover up” over the Church of England’s handling, at the time, of a complaint over the activities of the now convicted retired cleric Granville Gibson.


 APOLOGY: Bishop of Durham Paul Butler
  The 80-year-old churchman, who lives in Darlington, is facing a possible prison sentence after being found guilty of two counts of indecent assault at Durham Crown Court.

In the wake of those convictions, for incidents dating back to the late 1970s and early 80s, when Gibson was vicar at St Clare’s Church, Newton Aycliffe, the Bishop of Durham, the Right Reverend Paul Butler, offered a “profound” apology to the victims.

One offence was committed on a teenager carrying out community service work at the church, while the other conviction involved a young clergyman in his mid-20s.

During the course of the nine-day trial, the court heard the clergyman had reported his concerns over Gibson to the then Bishop of Durham, the Right Reverend Dr John Habgood.

He said he was later told by Bishop Habgood that Gibson had denied the claims and that this was the end of the matter.

Gibson was later promoted under Bishop Habgood’s successor, the Right Reverend David Jenkins, to become Archdeacon of Auckland, bringing with it the title of the Venerable Granville Gibson.

Opening the case, last week, prosecutor Paul Cleasby told jurors: “A clearer example of brushing something under the carpet you could not wish to find.”

In a statement issued after the guilty verdicts, Bishop Butler said: “Following the conviction today of the Venerable Granville Gibson on two charges of indecent assault, we offer an unreserved apology to all the survivors and those affected by this news.

“We commend the bravery of those who brought these allegations forward, acknowledging how difficult and distressing this would have been. 

“We are profoundly sorry for the abuse perpetrated by Mr Gibson and remain committed to doing everything possible to ensure the wellbeing of children, young people and adults, who look to us for respect and care.

“Abuse is a terrible crime and a grievous breach of trust, which has lifelong effects.

“I am asking the Chair of the Diocesan Safeguarding Management Group to commission a full and independent review of all the circumstances surrounding this case, so that we can learn from what has happened.

“We expect that review to take place and report over the next few months.

“Our prayers are with everyone concerned and, should anyone be affected by today’s news or want to share concerns, please contact the Diocesan Safeguarding Contact Line: 0800-689 4704.”

Bishop Butler acts as advocate for children among Anglican bishops and chairs the Church’s National Safeguarding Committee.

The court heard that former Bishop Habgood, who went on to become Archbishop of York, and later a life peer, was now too unwell to be called to give evidence in the trial.
Source 

Pensioner giving up fight for justice over alleged horrific punishment at teenage detention centre

    Rob Jones

Fifty years after allegedly suffering horrific punishment at a teenage detention centre, a Teesside pensioner is giving up on his fight for justice.

Rod Jones, well known for his mercy missions to help children in Romania, is one of thousands of former inmates who have given evidence to police investigations of historic abuse at the centres.
 
But the reformed former armed robber believed the probes, including one into Kirklevington Grange, are “taking too long” and says most of the officers who carried out the alleged abuse are now dead.

The 69-year-old was an inmate of Medomsley, in County Durham, when he was 17, and tells of the brutal punishment he claims he suffered for “getting into a fight” with one of the guards.

“They threw me in a laundry basket and strapped it shut,” he said.

“Then they tipped me over and over the quarter of a mile to the shower block where they put a hose in the basket.

“I could feel myself drowning. It was like water-boarding.

“I lost consciousness and the next thing I knew I was tipped out onto the floor of my cell.”

Rod, who has run the charity Convoy Aid International for 26 years, claims he also suffered “beating after beating” at the centre.

“Once they even threw a rope into my cell and told me if I didn’t hang myself they would do it for me.”

In desperation to escape the centre Rod, from Middlesbrough , says he admitted to more than 100 offences he never committed.

“But it got me to Borstal,” he said.

The investigation into assaults on inmates at Medomsley, near Consett, is now the biggest child abuse inquiry in the UK.

And the staggering 1,351 men who have reported being physically or sexually assaulted while at the reform centre make up half of all alleged victims in the country, it has been revealed.

“I’ve never got over it, but I’ve had enough now,” Rod told The Gazette.

“They’ve taken years and years over this investigation and I honesty believe they are going to knock it about until we’re all too old.

“The majority of prison officers who did this are now probably dead or are in their 80s and 90s. I don’t think any of them will ever see the inside of a court room.

“I think the whole investigation is a waste of time.”

Rod says he is now dropping a legal claim and withdrawing from the police inquiry.

He believes the only justice he and the other victims can ever hope to achieve is “for the Home Office to admit it happened and say ‘We’re sorry’.

“But we’ll never get that.”

As reported, almost 250 former inmates of HMP Kirklevington Grange have also come forward with allegations of abuse spanning four decades when it operated as a youth detention centre.

The allegations span from the 1960s up until the 1990s and two men were arrested as part of the investigations.

However, both have since been released without charge.

Source

Medomsley victim: We'll all be dead by the time the inquiry's finished

A VICTIM of brutal physical and sexual abuse at the Medomsley Detention Centre is withdrawing his police statement, saying he believes he will be dead before he gets closure.


Rod Jones, from Middlesbrough, says he is dropping a legal claim and withdrawing from the police inquiry because he feels it is being drawn out for too long, and said he believed most of the 1,351 victims would be dead by the time they received an apology, or any compensation.

The 69-year-old was an inmate of Medomsley, near Consett, aged 17, and believed he would end up dead as he underwent brutal assaults after hitting a guard in self-defence.

Mr Jones, who now runs a charity, Convoy Aid International, said guards threw a rope in his cell one night and told him that if he didn’t hang himself, they would do it the next morning. He was also nearly drowned.


In fear, he contacted the police in Middlesbrough and said he had committed over 130 burglaries – which wasn’t true – just so he could be moved away from Medomsley. Instead of spending another three months in the infamous centre he opted instead for three years in borstal.

Mr Jones said: “I get a letter updating me on the investigation every month and I just feel it drags it all up. What I underwent wasn’t just abuse, it was torture. This inquiry is taking too long. There’s no point coming to the cemetery and saying sorry, is there?”

Durham Police’s Det Supt Paul Goundry, senior investigating officer, said victims could opt out of the monthly letter.

He added: “From the outset we said this would be a lengthy and complex inquiry. While the investigative phase is now virtually complete, there is still a huge amount of work to do before the CPS can advise on any potential criminal charges.

We understand the frustration many victims must feel but all we can do is ask them to be patient while we continue to progress the investigation.” The Crown Prosecution Service are expected to decide later this year whether or not to bring criminal charges, in the country’s biggest investigation into historic sex abuse.

Source

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Retired vicar accused of indecent assault and buggery denies he was ever an exorcist, court told

Former Archdeacon of Auckland, George Granville Gibson, denies eight charges of indecent assault which allegedly took place in the 1970s and 80s 




George Granville Gibson

A jury was reminded of a vicar’s good character and successful career with the Church of England as the sex offences case against him was brought to a close.

The former Archdeacon of Auckland, George Granville Gibson, 80, denies eight charges of indecent assault and one count of buggery which prosecutors allege took place when he was a vicar at St Clare’s Church in Newton Aycliffe.

Judge Christopher Prince summed up the case against the former vicar on Tuesday, and repeated the retired clergyman’s claims that he was never an exorcist.

The retired former Archdeacon of Durham is said to have abused his position and indecently touching men and boys as young as 12.

Gibson is accused of indecently touching a young man at Medomsley Detention Centre, and the court has heard evidence that senior church leaders were made aware of his actions, but nothing was done.

Judge Prince said: “Everybody is born with a good character, some people retain that and some people lost it.

Prosecuting, Paul Cleasby said: “The Crown won’t challenge the good character and career of the defendant and don’t seek to do so.”

Judge Prince outlined Gibson’s successful career with the Church of England which led to him rising through the ranks to becoming Archdeacon of Auckland “effectively second to the Bishop of Durham”.

The Judge also mentioned Gibson’s early career as an organiser for the Boys’ Brigade.

“He said that he has had contact with young people since 1962 until the end of his career with the ministry in 2001,” he told the jury.

Judge Prince reiterated Gibson’s denials of ever being attracted to young boys or working as an exorcist.

He said: “He told you that was not an exorcist, but that he dealt with paranormal activity as a vicar.
“He said he had never had homosexual thoughts about boys, only about men.”

Judge Prince is set to finish summing the case on Wednesday at Durham Crown Court. He urged the jury to look only at the evidence when coming to their verdicts and said: “Emotion is the enemy of reason, you must put emotion to one side.”

Gibson, of Worsley Park, Darlington, denies all charges.

The trial continues.

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Former Archdeacon of Auckland Granville Gibson tells trial he wrapped legs around alleged abuse victim












A FORMER minister admitted for the first time today that he had wrapped his legs around an 18-year-old who was performing community service work at the church.

Cross-examined on the fifth day of his trial at Durham Crown Court, where he denies six counts of indecent assault and one other serious offence, retired clergyman Granville Gibson, said there was nothing sexual in the contact.

The 80-year old former Archdeacon of Auckland, who now lives in Darlington, is said to have committed the offences earlier in his Church career when he was a minister at St Clare’s at Newton Aycliffe in the late 1970s and early 80s.

Two alleged victims were teenage males while a third was a young churchman in his mid-20s at the time.

Mr Gibson told the court that because of the difficult situation of offenders who were doing community service at the church he would bring some “light-hearted banter” into the situation by making jokes and “acting on” and have a “throw about a bit” at times.

He said: “It was common garden acting on really, as I did from time to time as I did with my own kids.”

Prosecutor Paul Cleasby said: “But these were young offenders. Did you think it was appropriate to be touching them?”

Mr Gibson replied: “I did what I thought was appropriate at the time.”

He had earlier said that he had no recollection of the 18-year-old, who complained of being abused by him.

Mr Cleasby reminded him the victim had alleged that the abuse started when Mr Gibson sat on the edge of desk and wrapped his legs around him and pulled him toward him in a sexually aroused state.

He replied: “I do remember the desk. I do remember sitting on it and from time to time as he passed me he would stretch out with his hand and I would do the same - and yes occasionally I would put my legs around his lower legs and we would have a tussle.”

When Mr Cleasby said that this was the first time in the whole proceedings that he had made the confession, Mr Gibson said: “It’s the first time I’ve been asked.”

The married father-of-four is accused of committing one of the offences during a surprise unsupervised visit see the teenager, shortly after he was admitted to the former Medomsley Detention Centre, near Consett.

Another victim who attended the church said he was regularly abused by Mr Gibson, at the time believing he was being comforted by the “touchy feely” churchman.

Mr Gibson said he accepted cuddling the boy, by “bending down and giving him a hug”.

Asked how long the hug was, he said: “Not very long, but I didn’t have a stopwatch with me.”

The trial continues.

Source



Thursday, 28 July 2016

Operation Seabrook - Medomsley Detention Centre update 11/07/2016



















‘Operation Seabrook’ is the criminal investigation into allegations of sexual and physical abuse perpetrated by staff against detainees at Medomsley Detention Centre near Consett, County Durham.

It was launched in August 2013 and is investigating incidents which happened over many years, principally the 1970's and 1980's. 

The three main aims of the investigation are to ensure support is provided for victims so they are in a better place after contacting the police; to gain the fullest understanding of how Medomsley operated during those years and to secure evidence so that any potential offenders are brought to justice.

The Senior Investigating Officer (SIO) is Det Supt Paul Goundry and Det Con Tracey Etchells is the victim co-ordinator.

Anyone needing to make contact with them in writing can email  operation.seabrook@durham.pnn.police.uk

The 'Seabrook' team has now heard from more than 1,340 former inmates at Medomsley who have reported they were abused while detained at the centre.

All of the surviving main suspects - 31 in total - have been identified, interviewed and prosecution files submitted to the CPS for advice.  This advice will then identify those individuals who are likely to be charged and also which victims or witnesses are likely to give evidence.



Mr Goundry (pictured above) said; "Our focus remains around obtaining third party information for the 130+ victims who have been identified as potential court witnesses. This is a slow process as we are reliant on other organisations to check their records and often it takes time for them to respond."

Seabrook is also part of Justice Goddard's Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA). It was announced last November that Medomsley would be a case study within the ‘Children in Custodial Institutions’ investigations .

The inquiry is in regular liaison with the police to progress this.. It is also important to remember that the inquiry will be focused on institutional failures rather than individual criminal guilt.

Important - If you are a victim and your contact details have changed, for example, you have moved house or have a new phone number then please email the Seabrook team or call them via 101 so they can update their records.

Durham Constabulary continues to work with various organisations to provide the best possible support for victims. Access to support is available without the need to contact the police for those who feel unable to do so.

Independent Psychotherapist Zoe Lodrick



The following organisations can be contacted independently of the police for support .

NSPCC FREEPHONE HELPLINE (24 hrs):
National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children                                                                                    0808 800 5000
The helpline is available for anyone who has concerns about a child or anyone including adults who wish to discuss their own experience of abuse as a child or young person.
Contact can also be made via e mail : help@nspcc.org.uk  or by text 88858
Contact can be made anonymously if the caller so wishes.

NAPAC
National Association for People Abused in ChildhoodFreephone from all landlines and mobile networks 0808 801 0331.
Calls do not show on your bill; lines are open 10am to 9pm Monday - Thursday, and 10am to 6pm on Friday. NAPAC is unable to take messages or ring back. 

The Meadows:
The Meadows Sexual Assault Referral Centre (Darlington and Co Durham) 0191 301 8554
The Meadows will accept calls between the hours of 9am-3.30 pm Monday to Friday and can arrange one-to-one counselling sessions and can make referrals to similar centres throughout the UK.

Counselling does not involve discussing what has happened in relation to the assault, it aims to help you work through your feelings to aid the healing process.
Staff at the Meadows will not contact the police without your consent unless there are current concerns in respect of a child or vulnerable adult.

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