Sexual Abuse Survivor Speaks Of ‘Relief’ After Former Social Services Worker Sentenced

Leslie Paul Sentenced To 13 Years In Prison For Sexual Offences Against Four Boys In 1980s

14.01.2016

A man who was abused while living in a children’s home has spoken of his relief at seeing his attacker jailed for a series of indecent assaults against four boys in the 1980s and says he is now determined to move on with his life with the support of expert abuse lawyers at Irwin Mitchell.

Leslie Paul was found guilty of 17 non-recent sexual offences against children in his care between 1980 and 1988 while he worked at the South Vale children’s home, which was operated by Lambeth Borough Council

Judge John Hillen today (14 January) sentenced him to 13 years in prison at Blackfriars Crown Court, London. He will also spend the remainder of his life on license.

One survivor, known only as Simon to protect his identity, was abused at the home and recalls telling staff about what was happening to him and other boys living at South Vale, but that nothing was ever done.

The abuse he suffered had a significant impact on his life and he was concerned about having children as a result of the experience he had as a child. He has experienced suicidal thoughts after the investigation into Paul’s abuse commenced.

Simon is now working with specialist abuse lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to secure a settlement to fund access to the help and support he requires to cope with the terrible ordeal he suffered at such a young age.

Peter Lorence, a specialist abuse lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, who is representing Simon in his legal action, said:

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“Many people who suffer sexual abuse as a child can be affected by the ordeal for the rest of their lives and their experiences can have a significant impact on the way they develop as an adult and how they live their lives.

“Through our work we deal with cases, such as this, where vulnerable individuals were targeted by people who they should have been able to trust.

“Simon has been extremely courageous to speak out about the abuse he suffered and we hope that what happened to him, and others, at South Vale will encourage organisations to implement every possible measure to protect vulnerable young people.

“We are now representing Simon and hope to secure a settlement to ensure he is able to access the therapy and support he needs to come to terms with what happened and make progress with his life."
Peter Lorence, Solicitor

Simon, 45, said: “The abuse I suffered as a teenager ruined my life. I didn’t speak about it until I was contacted by the Police in 2014 as I thought nobody would believe what happened to me, as I was ignored at the time it was happening to me.

“I’m relieved that Paul was found guilty and will now spend time in prison for what he did to me and some of the other people who lived at South Vale. I can finally start to move on with my life knowing that everyone now believes me.

“I hope that by speaking out others who have suffered abuse by those who were supposed to be in a position of trust will feel they can come forward and that justice can be done, even 30 years down the line.

“I struggled to come to terms with what happened to me throughout my life, but all I feel now is relief and I’m looking forward to moving on with my life and putting this ordeal behind me.”

Raymond Stevenson, spokesperson from Shirley Oaks Survivors Association said: “We are very proud of SOSA member Simon. His courage to speak out has been empowering to many of the SOSA survivors. 

“Les Paul targeted the most vulnerable people in society and his behaviour is sadly consistent with the numerous claims of sexual abuse suffered by our members whilst in the care of Lambeth. The tide is turning and it’s brave people like Simon and his representatives that are at the forefront of change. It’s important to note that the success of this case has already empowered others to come forward to SOSA.”