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Monday, July 5, 1999 Published at 11:02 GMT 12:02 UK


Social worker admits child abuse

The 35 alleged assaults took place over a 20-year period

A social worker has pleaded guilty to 35 charges of child abuse against children in London and Merseyside at Liverpool Crown Court.

Michael John Carroll, 50, of Oswestry, Shropshire, admitted 24 indecent assaults, five cases of attempted buggery and five of buggery, and one act of gross indecency against 12 boys, some as young as eight.

The BBC's Kevin Bocquet: Carroll made the boys do exactly what he wanted
The offences took place over a 20-year period between 1966 and 1986, while Carroll worked in residential care. He was originally charged with 76 offences.

Tim Holroyde, QC, prosecuting, asked for the remaining indictments to lie on file.

He said the 35 charges Carroll admitted on Monday were the "specimen of a wider range of offending".

Grew up in care

Carroll was born in a mother-and-baby home in Blundellsands, Liverpool, and grew up in care.

[ image: Michael John Carroll pleaded guilty to 35 charges]
Michael John Carroll pleaded guilty to 35 charges
In 1953 he was admitted to St Edmund's Orphanage in Bebington, Wirral, where he later took a job in the mid-1960s.

In 1966, he was convicted of indecent assault when he was 18, against a 12-year-old boy in his care at St Edmund's.

Twelve years later he took up a post as deputy officer in charge of a children's home in Lambeth - where he failed to disclose his conviction - before taking overall charge in 1980.

After being dismissed from Lambeth Council following an investigation into financial irregularities, Carroll bought a hotel in Chirk, near Wrexham, on the English/Welsh border.

In June 1997 an allegation of sexual assault was received by Operation Care, a long-running investigation by Merseyside Police into child abuse in residential homes in the North West.

Officers spoke to former residents of the two homes, and as a result Carroll was arrested and charged.

He first appeared in court in March when he pleaded not guilty to the 76 charges.

'Authoritarian bully'

Carroll's guilty plea is the 20th conviction of Operation Care, now into its fourth year.

Detective Sergeant Colin Leeman of Merseyside Police said: "The success of this investigation is down to the courage and the commitment of the victims who came forward when we contacted them and who had the courage to disclose the horrendous things that happened to them in their childhood.

"Carroll is an authoritarian confident man, a bully. He abused his position of trust and authority.

"He's shown no emotions or regret to his victims throughout the investigations."

The case has been adjourned for sentencing until 30 July.

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