Friday 31 March 2017

Victims of a twisted paedophile

There are many kinds of paedophiles who sexually abuse young children and the two worst kinds of these monsters are fathers or stepfathers who sexually abuse their children and also those who abuse children who are under their care in group homes or in correctional facilities. When I was eleven years old, I was sexually abused by my own father and later when I was twelve years old, I was sexually abused by the head of a small group home I was sent to.  

However, this article isn’t about me. It is about the victims of a really twisted male paedophile whose name was Nelville Husband. He died 1n 2010 so throughout this article, I will speak of him in the past tense.  

This sexual monster worked at the Medomsley Detention Centre, which was close to the village of Medomsley in England. He was in sole charge of the kitchen at Medomsley. The Guardian investigation in 2012 revealed that during years in the 1970s and 1980s Husband had sexually molested boys and young men on a daily basis, while other staff allegedly turned a blind eye to his crimes.  After the police investigated the complaints of the victims, they were convinced that Husband had sexually abused at least 375 of his victims. It has been suspected that there may have been as many as 500 of his victims having been sexually molested by this monster. David Cameron, the then prime minister was made aware of the investigation into the systematic beating, sexual molestation and rape of young men and boys at the former Detention Centre.

Kevin Raymond Young is currently 56 years of age.  He was one of Husband`s victims at the Medomsley Detention Centre. Mr. Young was 17 when he was sent to the Centre. He'd already had a tough life.  At age two, he had been  taken into care and sexually and physically abused by those who were supposed to care for him.

His experience of Medomsley in 1977 had shaped, or disfigured, his life ever since. He was convicted of receiving stolen property – a watch his brother had given him; the first he had owned. The police asked if he knew where it had come from. No, he said. Could it possibly have been stolen, they asked. He thought about it – well, yes, possibly. He was sentenced to three months' detention.     

The morning after he arrived at Medomsley, Young was one of a handful of new inmates sent to work in the kitchen with Husband. Young was lining up for breakfast when he was picked out of the queue by Husband.  Young later discovered that Husband had asked for his file as Husband wanted to know everything about him; most importantly, whether he had family who were likely to visit him. If no family was likely to visit him, then Husband could sexually abuse Young with impunity.

Abuse might be too mild a word for what Husband did to Young over the next two months. That day after Young arrived at the Centre, Husband took him to a storeroom above the kitchen that he had converted into a lounge. He locked the door, took out the key and stuffed the keyhole with tissues to block out sounds and prevent anyone seeing what was going on in the store room. Young says that he was told by Husband that he could easily be found hanged at Medomsley. That year alone, six boys had already hanged themselves.

Young insists that there wasn't just the one man abusing him. Husband  was so sure of himself that he was able to take Young out of the prison against his will and take him to his private house just outside the prison gates. He was married with one child. In his house Young was blindfolded, ligatured and made to lie on the stairs. Then three or four other men raped him as well. Young could see them from the bottom of his blindfold. A rope was put round his neck and turned until he passed out. Husband was an expert at it. He was a big, stocky and powerful man.

Perhaps the most horrifying aspect of the Neville Husband story is that the detention centre, the prison service and the police all knew of his interest in boys. In 1969, eight years before Young was jailed, Husband was arrested at the Portland borstal (young offender`s facility) in Dorset and charged with importing pornography. The material seized included sado-masochistic images involving teenage boys.

Astonishingly, his charges were dropped. Husband admitted showing the material to boys in his care, but argued that he was interested in child pornography only because he was conducting research into homosexuality.

Details of that arrest were written on top of his employment record and went with him throughout his career. He was transferred to Medomsley, the smallest detention centre in the country, where he abused boys aged between 16 and 19 until he was transferred 16 years later.

Dr. Elie Godsi, a former senior psychologist for the Home Office, gave evidence in the civil action brought by Young and other victims. In his testimony he said,  "This is one of the worst cases of sexual abuse I have come across in 17 years of working for the Home Office and with some of the most prolific sex offenders in the country."

More than 40 years since Husband started abusing teenage boys, more and more damaged men were coming forward to reveal how he ruined their lives. Some have been paid compensation, but they say that's not enough. They want to know how he was allowed to get away with it for so many years, and why the police and colleagues in the prison system failed to notice his abuse, act on their suspicions and act on their complaints.

Kevin Young was released from Medomsley on the 17th of  June 1977, a day before his 18th birthday, and went straight to the Consett police station; the nearest to the centre.

He said later, "I explained to the officer that I'd just been released from Medomsley, where I'd been subjected to a constant series of assaults by one of the officers and others I couldn't identify. I showed him the marks on my neck where I'd been ligatured the night before. I was told it was a criminal offence to make such allegations against a prison officer because I was on licence. (parole) They were basically threatening to take me back to Medomsley, so I scattered pretty quick."

 After leaving the prison service, Husband had trained and qualified as a church minister. Years later, the police tracked down Young to a bedsit he was then living in and pushed a note through the door asking if he'd give evidence about abuse that had happened at St Camillus, a home where he had been abused before Medomsley.

For months he ignored them, but eventually he agreed to talk. He told the police that what had happened at St Camillus was bad, but there was worse. He then rattled off what had happened to him while he was at Medomsley. About three weeks later, a chief inspector came to his door and said, 'We've been after Neville Husband for years.'"

Husband had recently been the subject of complaints about the abuse of both boys and girls in his congregation while working as a minster at two churches in Gateshead, However, their parents involved had not wanted to pursue the matter. When his office was later raided, sex aids were found in his desk drawers and child pornography on his computer.

Young was taken to a safe house in York, where he was shown a film on an 8mm projector. The film showed a young boy about 16-17 with a rubber thing across his head, being choked. Husband had filmed Young while he was being abused.  The film took 40 minutes to run its course. "

Young's willingness to give evidence against Husband led to his arrest. It should have been a cathartic moment, a vindication, but it wasn't. If the police had known about Husband for years, why had nothing been done? After all, they had evidence of his obsession with child pornography dating back decades, and Young had reported the abuse 22 years earlier. Young is convinced the police had held on to the film for 14 years without doing anything about it.  He believed that the films and photographs were taken from the property of Neville Husband back in 1985,

That was the year that the police raided Medomsley and arrested Husband's friend, Leslie Johnson, a man who handled the stores at the detention centre. Johnson was later convicted of abusing a young inmate, Mark Park, who, he said, had been "given to him" by Husband. Park told police that Husband had also abused him, but they took no action. Years later, at Husband's trial, Park named several officers at Medomsley whom he said had made comments to him about Husband abusing him and other boys. A former officer at Medomsley told the court, "Staff knew something was going on between Husband and the boys." Another former officer said Husband used to keep a boy behind in the kitchen at night and "we always used to feel sorry for that boy". Park himself was later convicted of a rape unrelated to Medomsley. He is now serving a life sentence. Did the abuse he suffered at Medomsley bring about a change in his behavior which later prompted him to commit the rape?

Husband left Medomsley shortly after Johnson's arrest and moved to Frankland, a high-security adult jail near Durham. When staff at Medomsley searched his drawers and lockers, they found pornographic material and sex aids. Husband was to continue working in the prison service for another five years. He requested a move to Deerbolt, a young offender’s institution, where it is alleged he abused inmates again.

 On his retirement, managers at Frankland put him forward for the Imperial Service Medal, writing, "Husband has served with diligence and fidelity and should be recommended for the award." It makes you want to vomit, doesn’t it.

In 2003, Husband was finally convicted of sexually abusing five young male inmates between 1974 and 1984, after pleading not guilty. Sentencing him to eight years in prison, Judge Cockroft said, "Your victims were young detainees who you chose to work for you in the kitchen so that you could abuse them. There you caused them to submit to your unwelcome attentions. This was a gross breach of trust. You, and others like you, caused their damaged personalities. Until now, they thought no one would believe them." In 2005, Husband's sentence was increased to ten years after new victims came forward and he admitted to attacks on four more boys. In 2007, the Crown Prosecution Service announced it would not be charging Husband over an allegation that he went on to abuse a boy in Deerbolt because it would "not be in the public interest to do so.” The trial may have damaged the boy if he had to give testimony.  

There has never been a public inquiry into Medomsley, despite the scale of abuse, nor did the prison service hold an inquiry into how Husband's abuse continued for so long.

James Millar Reid was governor at Medomsley from 1976 to 1978, which covers the time when Kevin Young was abused. At the beginning of September 2000, he was visited by detectives from Durham, who were investigating Husband. A few days after the visit, Reid went missing and his body was found in a forest in Stelling Minnis, near Canterbury. The inquest was held in February 2001 and an open verdict was returned. The cause of death recorded was "Unascertainable" as the body was badly decomposed. I don’t know if someone killed him or if he committed suicide.

Husband died in February 2013. The victims of that twisted paedophile who subjected so many boys in his campaign of sickening abuse; were finally able to breathe a sigh of relief.  It is unfortunate that they weren’t able to breathe a sigh of relief years earlier. 

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