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fifty kids raped at childrens home (sun) 11th June

11th Jun 2008 | in Child Abuse

AT LEAST 50 kids were raped at a council-run children’s home in a horrific catalogue of abuse lasting 40 years, detectives fear.

A major investigation was launched after a former resident of the home recognised his abuser in the street 30 years later   and beat him up.

The victim, now in his 40s, was arrested over the attack and poured his heart out to cops about the abuse he had suffered as a child.

Specialist officers then began a probe, and now believe at least 50 children were raped and abused at Hollydale Children’s Home in Catford, South London.

Yesterday the home’s former head, John Darby, 71, was charged with 46 offences of rape, indecent assault and possessing abusive images.

The charges relate to seven boys between 1971 and 1983, when Lewisham Council closed the home. Andrew Chambers, 65, a former supervisor at the home, faces ten child sex abuse charges. Both men were bailed to appear before Greenwich JPs on June 20.

The events echo the plot of the film Sleepers, in which a man who was abused at a kids’ home shoots his tormentor years later.

A source said: "The man who was supposedly abused never told anyone and buried it away all those years, but snapped after seeing him."

Police tracked down other victims around the country after recovering films and photos taken by staff.

One detective said: "The victims had locked the abuse away. It has been incredibly emotional and stressful for them to finally open up and say what happened.

"They’ve been given counselling to help them deal with it. Others we approached do not want to know.

"This inquiry is huge, one of the biggest we have ever undertaken. We believe there could be more victims and want them to come forward."

Darby was head of the school from the 1960s until 1983.

He also worked at other Lewisham homes and Catholic care homes.

Police appealed to victims to call them on 020 7230 3778 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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