Child carers jailed for despicable sex crimes

TWO ex children s home workers have been jailed for a total of 22 years after repeatedly abusing children in Malcolm Osric Phillips Shalders.

Malcolm Osric Phillips (68) who headed Skircoat Lodge children s home, Halifax and Andrew James Shalders (54) who was a social worker there were convicted of child abuse and sentenced at Bradford Crown Court following two separate trials, one of which was held in August and one which concluded yesterday.

Shalders, of Featherstall Road, Littleborough, Rochdale, denied over 30 charges of buggery, indecent assault and indecency with a child. All the offences were against males.

He was jailed for 15 years after he was found guilty of 22 of the offences and acquitted of a further 14.

Phillips, of Lincolnshire, denied 29 charges of indecent assault, indecency with a child, rape and buggery against 10 complainants - all female.

He was jailed for seven years after being found guilty of 16 offences of indecent assault and two offences of committing an act of indecency with a child.

He was acquitted of a further four offences of indecent assault, one of rape and one of buggery. Five other charges, including an offence of rape, will lie on the file. Reporting restrictions on the Shalders case were lifted yesterday after Phillips was sentenced.

Neither of the two men showed any sign of remorse as Judge Rodney Grant passed their terms of imprisonment.

Speaking to Shalders he said: "The offences are grave, wicked and despicable and it is hard to imagine a more gross breach of trust.

"You betrayed the trust placed in you by the public. You betrayed the trust these children were entitled to place in you. You used your position to gratify your sexual desires."

In the case of Shalders, the offences took place between 1976 and 1988 and one of the complainants told the jury that when he was 15-years-old, Shalders took indecent pictures of him on the premise that he would reunite the boy with his brothers.

When passing sentence in the Phillips case, Judge Rodney Grant said: "It is clear that in your professional life you gave the reputation of being a carer of difficult children, that you were respected by those that worked in the same field as you and we have heard witnesses during this trial referring to you as charismatic and a person whose advice was valued.

"That appears to have been your public face but you also had another side, a darker side, a side which seems to have been hidden from the general public.

"You had a position of great responsibility. I have referred already to the esteem in which you were held and that increased the responsibility you owed to the children in your care and the public at large.

"You breached that trust, you breached the trust placed in you by the general public and the children that were placed in your care were entitled to have.

"You exploited their vulnerability for your own sexual gratification."

A 34-year-old complainant in the case, who watched from the public gallery, broke down as Judge Grant passed sentence.

Fact file

Malcolm Osric Phillips (68)

Phillips arrived in Calderdale from Birmingham in 1976.

He had been housemaster for four years at an establishment for boys aged 12-17.

He qualified on a training course for social workers and took up the post of principal at Skircoat Lodge in 1976.

He remained there until 1994.

He was dismissed by Calderdale Council in 1996.Andrew James Shalders (54)

Shalders arrived in Calderdale in 1976 and took up the post of care worker at Skircoat Lodge.

18 months later he was appointed senior residential social worker.

In 1985 he was suspended after allegations were made by a number of boys but was reinstated a month later.

In 1988 he moved from Children s Services to Adult Services and worked with people with learning difficulties.

He was arrested in December 1997 and suspended by Calderdale Council.Child Abuse Statistics:

In March 1999, 31,900 children were on Child Protection Registers in England

Of these, 21 per cent were registered for sexual abuse

95 per cent of children calling Childline about abuse know their abuser

Approximately 90 per cent of reported offenders are men

Many are married with children

Most tend to gravitate towards professions, places and activities which put them in contact with children

Between one in four and one in 10 children will have experienced sexual abuse before they reach adulthood

Disabled children are five times more likely to be abused than able bodied children

Victims often face a life battling with alcohol and drug abuse, eating disorders, severe depression, self harm and suicide attempts