PRISON OFFICERS “SEXUALLY AND PHYSICALLY ABUSED” INMATES AT YOUTH DETENTION CENTER. Charges come after more than 1,800 former inmates of Medomsley Detention Centre report decades of abuse to police
October 18, 2019
Two former prison officers been charged with physically and sexually abusing inmates at a youth detention centre.
Ian Nicholson and Alexander Flavell are accused of assaulting young men held at a Medomsley in County Durham during the 1970s and 1980s.
Mr Nicholson, now 74, is charged with one count of misconduct in public office, three counts of buggery and four counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
Mr Flavell, 86, is accused of misconduct in public office, indecent assault, one count of buggery and four counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
The historical offence of buggery, under the Sexual Offences Act 1956, was in force when the alleged crimes took place but was replaced by rape in 1994.
The men, who both worked as prison officers at Medomsley Detention Centre, are due to appear at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates’ Court on 24 October.
They were investigated as part of Durham Constabulary’s Operation Seabrook, which is probing allegations of abuse at the facility from the 1960s until its closure in 1988.
The investigation was launched in 2013 and more than 1,800 former inmates have so far come forward to report abuse.
Police said another four men who were being investigated as part of Operation Seabrook will face no further action.
Earlier this year, five former prison officers – Christopher Onslow, John McGee, Alan Bramley, Kevin Blakeley and Brian Johnson Greenwell - were jailed for abusing former inmates at the detention centre following three separate trials.
All five men have launched appeals against their convictions, after the courts heard they inflicted years of “brutality and violence” on children.
Built in 1960 on the site of a Victorian orphanage, Medomsley was designed to house up to 130 offenders aged 17 to 21.
Many were first-time offenders and had been detained for minor crimes, spending on average six weeks to two months at the Home Office-run centre before being released.
Medomsley is just one of several youth detention centres where former inmates have reported historical physical, sexual and emotional abuse.
Survivors previously told The Independent of the beatings, humiliation and sexual assault they routinely suffered at what one man called “sadistic, brutal concentration camps”.
Some teenagers were driven to suicide and others said the trauma had sparked a worsening cycle of violence and addiction.
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) has revealed the appalling scale of more recent child sexual abuse in detention centres.
A recent report said that more than 1,000 incidents had been reported between 2009 and 2017, and children “are still not safe”.
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