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Sexual Offences

The Sexual Offences Act 2003 updated the law, much of which dated back to 1956.

The main provisions of the Act include the following:

  • Rape is widened to include oral penetration
  • Significant changes to the issue of consent
  • Specific offences relating to children under 13, 16 and 18
  • Offences to protect vulnerable persons with a mental disorder
  • Other miscellaneous offences
  • Strengthening the notification requirements and providing new civil preventative orders

Find out more about how we prosecute sexual offences

Former chaplain and headmaster convicted for 35 non-recent sex offences


James Carragher (75) and Anthony McCallen (69) have today been sentenced at Leeds Crown Court for 35 sex offences against 11 young boys between 1970 and 1991 who were in the care of a residential home for troubled boys near Market Weighton in the East Riding of Yorkshire.

James Carragher has been sentenced to nine years in prison and Anthony McCallen has been sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Caroline May, reviewing lawyer, CPS Yorkshire and Humberside said: "This case involves the systematic abuse and rape of children as young as 12. These young boys were troubled and vulnerable, who had been removed from their families and sent to St Williams Boy's Home in the East Riding.

"Both defendants were senior members of staff in positions of considerable power and authority. Carragher was the headmaster and McCallen - an ordained priest - was the school chaplain.

"Far from being dedicated to the education and protection of the young, these men were bullies and paedophiles; cynical sexual predators who deliberately sought out contact with vulnerable children to abuse and in some cases rape them.

"I would like to pay tribute to the numerous victims in this case for coming forward, helping us to build a strong prosecution case and giving evidence against their abusers in court. This has ensured that these two individuals will be serving considerable prison sentences and I hope this brings their many victims some comfort."

Additional information

  • JAMES CARRAGHER has been sentenced for 21 offences of Indecent Assault and 3 of Buggery.  He received nine years for the three offences of buggery together with five years for each Indecent Assault, all to run concurrent - a total of nine years custody.
  • ANTHONY McCALLEN has been sentenced for 10 Indecent Assaults and 1 Buggery. He received ten years for the Buggery and five years for each Indecent Assault - the Indecent Assaults to run concurrent with each other but to run consecutive to the ten years - a total of 15 years custody.
  • Sexual Harm Prevention Orders were made in respect of both defendants, to continue until further Order.
  • The Judge directed the jury to find a third defendant not guilty on two counts which related to the allegations made by one complainant who made two allegations against him. The Judge also directed a not guilty verdict in respect of a further two allegations made by the same complainant against Carragher.
  • Both defendants have previous convictions for sexual offences against young boys.


Notes to Editors

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