Paedophile, 77, sent down for 11 years

A man who sexually abused young girls in Scarborough has been jailed for 11 years.

John Laister, 77, preyed on two victims from 1968-79 while working at the May Lodge children’s home in Filey Road.

He targeted another young victim while teaching at the church’s Sunday school in West Yorkshire.

His offences included multiple counts of gross indecency and indecent assault, and two counts of rape on one of the victims.

Laister, from Abingdon in Oxfordshire, was sentenced at York crown court. He was already serving a 14-year prison sentence for non-recent sexual offences, including rape, indecent assault and indecency, against two girls aged under 16 in the Bradford area, which were reported in 2014. He committed those offences while working as a ‘house parent’ at another children’s home in the 1970s.

A police team which investigates non-recent abuse began an extensive inquiry into Laister in 2014.

Detectives identified two other offenders who worked as live-in carers at May Lodge during the same period period. Maurice Berry, 64, from North Somercotes in Lincolnshire, and Ray Vasey, 72, from Darlington, were sentenced to 13 and 17 years’ imprisonment respectively in June and July. Each sexually abused three young girls.

Detective Constable Alison Morris, who led the investigation into the offences at May Lodge, said: “The victims of these depraved offenders have endured decades of turmoil stemming from the sickening abuse they endured as very young girls. Their terrible experiences will live with them forever, but I hope they have gained a measure of comfort knowing justice has now been served. I have nothing but admiration for the bravery of the victims in this case.

“Even after all these years, it shows once again that it is never too late to report non-recent sexual abuse and secure justice. The team is fully equipped to support victims at every stage. They can have confidence that they will be treated with dignity and respect throughout. If you have been a victim of such crimes, no matter when it occurred, please do not suffer in silence. We are here to help you”.

Victims can ring the police on 101. Those in immediate danger should dial 999 for an emergency response. Victims who would prefer not to go to the police and are not in immediate danger can ring North Yorkshire’s sexual-assault referral centre on 0330 223 0362 or email bridgehouse.sarc@nhs.net or go to www.bridgehousesarc.org; or ring the Supporting Victims Unit on 01609 643100 or visit www.supportingvictims.org.

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