WILLIAMSON HOUSE & THE SEXUAL ABUSE SCANDAL: RICHARD KERR REJECTS STATE APOLOGY AHEAD OF HEARING TO SET DATE TO STRIKE OUT HIS CIVIL ACTION
KRW LAW LLP (KRW) is instructed by Richard Kerr who was sexually abused for over ten years between the ages of 8 – 18 whilst in the ‘care’ of Williamson House, the Kincora Boys’ Hostel, and similar institutions in Belfast. He was taken from his family by the State at the age of five and placed in Williamson House where the abuse started including abuse by a British soldier which was reported but never properly investigated.
Whilst a resident of the Kincora Boys’ Hostel from age 14 he was the youngest there and often left on his own to be abused whilst other residents were at work. In addition, his abusers would often arrange for him to be abused by others outside of the hostel, in effect trafficking Richard Kerr.
Richard Kerr rejects the apology offered yesterday by politicians at Stormont. He maintains that an apology written by civil servants and delivered by Ministers is empty handwringing rhetoric. It is meaningless. An apology can be made but it need not be accepted as it does not – and cannot – salve the scars, physical, emotional, and psychological – caused by systemic abuse inflicted or orchestrated by those charged with the care of those in their charge.
Richard Kerr contends that all investigations to date into institutions including Williamson House and the Kincora Boys’ Hostel have been flawed and mislead by state agencies including the PSNI on behalf of the RUC and Northern Ireland Office and Home Office on behalf of agencies including MI5. He notes that the apology yesterday did not include a statement from the Leader of Belfast City Council, the Chief Constable of the PSNI, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, or the Home Secretary.
Richard Kerr’s civil action seeks to ventilate and expose the truth of the systemic abuse he and others, including his friend Stephen Waring, suffered and endured and to establish the liability of all the state agencies responsible for this. Richard and Stephen vowed to protect each other.
Stephen fled to the UK in 1977 shortly after confirming that he was sexually abused at the Europa Hotel in Belfast. Richard and Stephen were separated and questioned in different police stations. Stephen regretted that he confirmed he was being abused at the Donegal Pass police station. He felt his life was in danger. Stephen drowned as he was forced back from Liverpool to Belfast. Stephen’s death was a direct result of the control the state agencies held over the two boys and others. His death prompted the first flawed investigation into the Kincora Boys’ Hostel.
The British government is seeking to strike out Richard Kerr’s case and attack his credibility. A hearing to set a date for the strike action application is set to be heard in Belfast on the 18 March. KRW is resisting the strike out and will request the trial judge hear the application and adjudicate upon it.
A month ago, Belfast City Council agreed that the Kincora Boys’ Hostel should be demolished and that apartments for young families should be built on the site. Williamson House was demolished but was not developed.
Richard Kerr recommends that establishing a Memorial Park to all those who were abused would be an appropriate response.
Richard Kerr knows that the past cannot be demolished and that to erase Kincora will not eradicate the memories of what happened there and in similar institutions to him and others including his friend Stephen Waring.
Richard Kerr is supported in his application by Colin Wallace, who was a Psychological Operations officer at Army Headquarters in Lisburn during the 1970s. Mr Wallace has fearlessly fought to expose the abuse at Kincora and elsewhere. No doubt the government will seek to cast doubt on his credibility as well but that also will be resisted.