St William's child abuse inquiry petition gets 50,000 signatures

James Carragher and Anthony McCallen
Image caption Anthony McCallen, 69, (left) was convicted of a string of sexual offences in December along with co-defendant James Carragher, 75

A petition calling for a public inquiry into historical child sex abuse at a Roman Catholic children's care home has gained 50,000 signatures in two months.

A former chaplain and ex-principal were jailed in January for abusing boys at the former St William's home in East Yorkshire between 1970 and 1991.

Campaigners want to know why the abuse there went unchecked for decades.

MP Hilary Benn has asked for the case to be included in the national inquiry into child sex abuse led by Alexis Jay.

Campaigner Darren Furness, who was a pupil at the care home near Market Weighton, started the petition in June. He said: "I've been fighting this for 30 years and I'll carry on fighting till the day I get answers.

"It's not about money. It's about getting justice and making sure this can never happen again.

"We want a public inquiry."

Image caption Campaigner Darren Furness was a former pupil at the former St William's Catholic children's care home

The Labour MP for Leeds said the number of signatures on the petition showed "strength of feeling" and that "lessons need to be learned".

Mr Benn wrote to the previous chairwoman of the national inquiry before her resignation, judge Dame Lowell Goddard.

In a response, the inquiry panel invited Mr Furness to submit evidence but the case would not be investigated the MP said.

Former chaplain Anthony McCallen, formerly of Whernside Crescent, Ingleby Barwick, Stockton-on-Tees, was convicted in December of 11 charges including a serious sexual offence, but was acquitted of eight others after a trial at Leeds Crown Court.

Ex-principal James Carragher, of Cearns Road, Merseyside, was jailed for nine years after he was found guilty of 21 indecent assaults and three serious sex offences. He was cleared of a further 30 charges.

The inquiry into child sex abuse in England and Wales was set up in July 2014 to investigate allegations made against local authorities, religious organisations, the armed forces and public and private institutions, as well as people in the public eye.

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