Detectives have launched a new investigation into a former youth detention centre in County Durham amid allegations that hundreds of young inmates may have been systematically abused there in the 1970s and 80s.
More than 80 people have said they suffered as inmates at a County Durham centre for young offenders in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Durham Constabulary announced they were launching a fresh investigation into claims young men sent to Medomsley Detention Centre, near Consett were abused by staff.
The unit had a capacity of over 130, but at any one time typically held 70 offenders, mainly from the north. Many were first-time offenders detained for minor crimes.
“We have experienced detectives working on this case including many who are specially-trained to deal with victims of sexual abuse. They will go to see our victims in person, wherever they are, answer any queries they may have.
“Many of those sent to Medomsley were first-time offenders... These days they might be dealt with by issuing a caution, or putting in place a restorative solution designed to keep them out of the criminal justice system.
“We owe it to all the former inmates of the centre to investigate every possible lead and ensure no stone is left unturned.”
– Det Supt Paul Goundry
Around 60 detectives have been assigned individual cases. They will take initial statements in a few weeks time.
Police investigating the historic allegations of child abuse at a County Durham detention centre say that more than 60 alleged victims have now come forward. Durham Police reopened the case into sex abuse at Medomsley Detention Centre last month.
The scandal dates back to the 1970s and 80s when it is alleged inmates at the centre for young offenders were subjected to abuse. Previous police investigations led to two men being jailed. Detectives say that more alleged victims are expected to come forward.
The police have promised to put victims at the heart of their investigation and said they believe there are still victims who have yet to come forward.
"The investigation will put victims at the heart of the inquiry but at the same time we would like to hear from anyone who has new information about Medomsley and any abuse that occurred either inside, or when inmates were taken off-site.
"Those who carried out the abuse preyed on some very vulnerable young people and left many of them with mental scars, which have lasted a lifetime.
"While we contacted and took statements from a number of victims as part of this investigation, we believe there are others who for whatever reason have never come forward.
"It is those people we are now asking to contact us and pass on any information about what took place during their time at Medomsley, whether it happened at the centre or elsewhere."
– Detective Superintendent Paul Goundry, Durham Police
Detectives have reopened a major investigation into a former youth detention centre in County Durham. There are fresh claims that hundreds of its young teenage inmates may have been abused during the 1970s and 80s.
Two former members of staff have already been arrested and convicted for sex offences. Now, claims by one victim that he was raped every day for four months have prompted the new inquiry.
The man says there are many more victims and other perpetrators who have not yet been brought to justice.