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Monday, 17 February, 2003, 12:30 GMT
Sex abuse church minister jailed
Medomsley detention centre
The Medomsley detention centre is now closed
A church minister, who sexually abused male inmates at a juvenile detention centre, where he worked as a prison officer, has been jailed for eight years.

Neville Husband, 65, was told he had committed a "gross breach of trust" as was sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court.

The court had heard how Husband, who became a minister in the United Reformed Church after 27 years in the prison service, had used his position of authority at Medomsley Detention Centre in County Durham to systematically abuse his victims from 1974 to 1984.

Sentencing Husband, who had been in charge of two churches, in Gateshead and Fenham, Judge Esmond Faulks said: "Your victims were young detainees who you chose to work for you in the kitchen so that you could abuse them."

Neville Husband
Husband was a member of the United Reform Church

Jamie Hill, for the Crown, had told the jury how Husband, of Shotley Bridge, County Durham, had managed to continue with his behaviour "simply by inducing terror and extreme fear over those whom he had control of".

The males, who were aged between 16 and 19 at the time of the offences, had been picked by Husband to work in the kitchens, where he would sometimes "blatantly" indecently assault them, and at others take them away for abuse in secret.

One of the victims, now in his 40s and a successful businessman, told how the married father-of-one would subject him to daily attacks despite repeated apologies and promises that he would not do it again.

'Unwelcome attentions'

He said: "It progressed. It got worse and worse.

"The more I complained, the worse it got.

"It culminated in me being separated from other prisoners, deliberately separated, and sexually assaulted on a number of occasions.

"On most occasions I would plead with Mr Husband and ask him not to do what he was doing to me and on each occasion he would promise that he would not do it again, so it was a circle I was in."

Husband had repeatedly threatened him not to tell anyone about the attacks and told him he "could be found hung in a cell" if he did, the victim said.

Judge Faulks said: "You caused these people to submit to your unwelcome attentions.

Indecent assaults

"This was a gross breach of trust. You, and others like you, caused their damaged personalities.

"Until now they thought no one would believe them."

The jury found Husband guilty on 10 counts of indecent assault and one of a serious sexual offence.

He was cleared of two further indecent assaults.

The judge had directed them earlier in the trial to find him not guilty on three further indecent assault charges.

After the hearing, Detective Inspector Simon Orton of Northumbria Police, who led the investigation, said: "It is clear that this man forced himself on the young men in his charge.

"I can only surmise how many other people have been through his clutches.

"I think the sentence was entirely appropriate and reflected the abhorrent nature of the breach of trust he perpetrated all those years ago."

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