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Tuesday, 26 November, 2002, 09:16 GMT
Council sued over home abuse claims
Tennal Assessment Centre
The children's home closed in the 1980s
Sixty men who claim they were abused at a care home in the 1970s are taking legal action against Birmingham City Council, the BBC has learnt.

The joint action is to be brought by men who say they suffered abuse as boys at the Tennal Assessment Centre in Harborne.

Four former workers at the home have already been convicted for sexual offences against boys at the home at that time.

The former residents' lawyer, Richard Scorer, says they want compensation for the effect the centre has had on their lives.

'Life-long effects'

He told BBC Radio WM: "Everybody who went through that experience at the Tennal Assessment Centre and suffered abuse, particularly sexual abuse, has been badly affected by it.

Eugene Devoti
Eugene Devoti: A former teacher

"The effects of that kind of abuse in many cases are life-long and can spill into other areas of life such as relationships and work and so on.

"It can be very serious but it varies from case to case."

The Tennal Assessment Centre was home to dysfunctional and vulnerable youngsters and closed in the mid-1980s.

Last week, former teacher Peter Brook was jailed for eight years after he admitted four charges of indecent assault, one of a serious sexual offence and another of indecency with a child. The offences all occurred at the home.

Prison death

The 55-year-old also admitted two charges of indecent assault and one of a serious sexual offence while working at Kingswood School in Bristol and one of indecent assault while at Troy House School in Monmouth.

Eleven further sex offences charges were ordered to lie on file.

In October last year, 82-year-old Arthur Birch was jailed for eight years after he was found guilty of seven counts of indecent assault and three of a serious sexual nature against boys at the home. He died in prison in April.

His co-accused, 79-year-old Eugene Devoti, was jailed for seven years after he was found guilty of five indecent assaults at the centre.

And in March this year, Terry Goodhall, 52, of Margate, Kent, was jailed for eight years after admitting 15 offences at the home.

A spokeswoman from Birmingham City Council confirmed the council had received a "number of claims" which were currently being investigated.


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23 Oct 02 | England
26 Oct 01 | England
28 Sep 01 | England
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