Home boss denies sex charges

A FORMER principal of a Calderdale children s home went on trial yesterday charged with 29 sex offences against young girls.

Malcolm Osric Phillips (68), denied 24 offences of indecent assault, two offences of indecency with a child, two offences of rape and one of buggery.

Bradford Crown Court heard that the offences, which involve 10 different complainants, are alleged to have taken place between 1978 and 1986 at Skircoat Lodge, Skircoat Green, Halifax.

Mr Neil Davey QC, prosecuting, said: Our case is that Phillips had an improper sexual interest in young girls and he took advantage of his position as a trusted principal.

Mr Davey said a review by Calderdale Council Social Services department was held in October 1997 but while it was under way, grave concerns were expressed about a member of staff at Skircoat Lodge.

This led to a subsequent police investigation known as Operation Screen and Phillips s arrest. The girls he allegedly abused were aged between 12 and 18.

Detective Inspector John Barr of Calderdale Police was giving evidence today.

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