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Offender jailed for 11 years following non-recent abuse investigation

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A man who sexually abused young girls from the May Lodge Children’s Home in Scarborough and Thorpe Edge Church in Bradford has been jailed for 11 years.

John William Laister, aged 77, from Abingdon, Oxfordshire, preyed on two of his victims between 1968 and 1979 while he was working at the former children’s home on 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 was sentenced at York Crown Court on Tuesday 3 September 2019.

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.

North Yorkshire Police’s Non-Recent Abuse Investigation Team (NRAIT) began an extensive inquiry into Laister in 2014.

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

Detective Constable Alison Morris, from the NRAIT, led the investigation into the three offenders at May Lodge.

DC Morris 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 really hope they have gained a measure of comfort knowing that justice has now been served.

“I have nothing but admiration for the bravery of the victims in this case.”

DC Morris added: “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 Non-Recent Abuse Investigation Team is fully equipped to support victims at every stage. Victims 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.”

Please contact North Yorkshire Police on 101.

If you are in immediate danger, always dial 999 for an emergency response.

Victims who would prefer not to go direct to the police and are not in immediate danger, can contact Bridge House, North Yorkshire’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC), on 0330 223 0362, email bridgehouse.sarc@nhs.net or go to www.bridgehousesarc.org/

You can also contact the Supporting Victims Unit direct at www.supportingvictims.org or call 01609 643100.

Last modified: September 9, 2019