Jersey’s chief minister apologises to abuse victims

Jersey’s chief minister has apologised to people who suffered abuse at children’s care homes in the island during the 1970s and 1980s.

Senator Terry Le Sueur told the States of Jersey that the residential care system “failed some children”.

A couple were convicted of assaulting children last month in the final prosecution brought as a result of the historic abuse inquiry on the island.

Morag and Anthony Jordan, of Angus, Scotland, will be sentenced in January.

The court heard they carried out “casual and routine violence” while working as house parents at the Haute de la Garenne home.

Mr Le Sueur said the island’s government sympathised with all those affected by the inquiry.

He said: “On behalf of the island’s government I acknowledge that the care system that operated historically in the island of Jersey failed some children in the States residential care in a serious way.

“Such abuse has been confirmed by the criminal cases that has been before Jersey’s courts.

“To all those who suffered abuse, whether confirmed by criminal conviction or not, the island’s government offers its unreserved apology.”

The statement was welcomed by States members and the Chief Minister was pressed to provide more information.

He was asked to include details of claims for compensation from anyone who’s evidence did not lead to a criminal prosecution.

Senator Le Sueur said: “I’m very reluctant to speak in any depth about potential civil claims because they are ongoing.

“I would simply say that in broad terms any individual can bring a civil claim at any time and that claim will be judged on its merits.”

He said the States members should see a report into the whole matter in the new year.

Senator Le Sueur added: “I was anxious to present an apology today in advance of any other activity that may be required to deal with that aspect of the matter.

“I do acknowledge the importance of this and we will consider it as a council of ministers at the earliest opportunity.”

The apology brings to an end Operation Rectangle, a Jersey police enquiry into historic abuse in the island.

While the most high profile cases involved the former Jersey care home, Haut de la Garenne, not all of the cases were at the home.

Jail terms

Seven people have been found guilty of abuse as part of the operation.

Gordon Claude Wateridge was found guilty of assault on three girls while he was a house parent at Haute de la Garenne between 1969 and 1979.

Claude James Donnelly was jailed in June 2009 for 15 years for rape and indecent assault.

Michael Aubin was given two years probation for various sexual offences at Haut de la Garenne between 1977 and 1980.

Ronald George Thorne spent twelve months in prison for gross indecency between 1983 and 1984.

Leonard Miles Vandenborn was jailed for 12 years for the rape and indecent assault of two young girls in the 1970s and 1980s.

The final case as part of Operation Rectangle saw former house parents at Haute de la Garenne, Morag and Tony Jordan, found guilty of assaulting children in their care.