A freedom of information request has revealed that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has paid more than £2 million in out of court settlements over the past three years following claims of sexual abuse against cadets.
RT reports: The information, obtained by the Guardian, showed that the MoD had settled out-of-court payments for allegations including abuse rituals performed by older boys on younger cadets. Some cases were payouts to adults for historic abuse claims, but others were reportedly much more recent.
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In 2014, eight payouts, totaling £544,213, were made to cadets who claimed to have suffered abuse in the Army Cadets, Combined Cadet Force (CCF) and Air Cadet Organisation.
In one case, it was alleged that a victim of sexual abuse had given birth to her abuser’s child following repeated sexual abuse. The girl subsequently suffered chronic post-traumatic stress disorder and other psychological problems. The MoD admitted liability and paid £210,000 in settlement.
One mother, whose son was abused by two older cadets, said although they had settled for an out-of-court payment of £23,000, they had yet to receive a formal apology.
She told the Guardian that it was imperative the MoD took responsibility for the incidents happening during cadets’ training camps.
“If something like that goes on and is not right then somebody needs to take responsibility, and the cadets had to pay what they paid to compensate for all the hurt … But the two lads have got away with it, they just received warnings, and it was put on file.”
“[The police] said it was bullying and intimidation of a sexual nature – because it wasn’t anything like a rape,” she said.
“I believe that they had been doing it for a while. It makes me sick and saddened inside. It really, really, does. I was told that the cadets had their own internal investigation, but I’m not aware of what happened,” she added.
The boys who perpetrated the abuse, which included forcing younger cadets to perform oral sex, received a caution but weren’t charged.
Rebecca Sherriff, a senior solicitor, who has acted for a number of clients reportedly subjected to abuse at the hands of military staff, said it was not unusual to find offenders in positions of authority.
“It’s common practice for sex offenders to seek out positions of authority in organizations such as the Army Cadets, and vulnerable children need to be safeguarded from this risk.”
“It’s terrible that often these children have joined the cadets with a view to a career in the armed services, which they are unable to pursue as a result of abuse by people they should have been able to trust,” she added.