The Government has agreed to compensate people who came forward to allege they were abused as children by a former Shropshire GP.
Allegations first surfaced against former Whitchurch GP Dr Gerard Rogerson, who practiced in the town for 40 years before retiring in 1981, last May.
West Mercia Police has now confirmed it subsequently fielded 26 allegations of non-recent sexual abuse against Dr Rogerson, and that had he been alive today, he would have faced questioning over all the allegations made.
Given Dr Rogerson died in 2000, police said the focus of their ‘thorough and proportionate’ investigation had been to ensure all those coming forward had been ‘afforded the appropriate support and assistance’ needed.
Legal claims have resulted in vital support and compensation offers
Victoria Neale, a specialist in supporting victims of abuse at Hudgell Solicitors, has been representing more than a dozen people who made allegations against Dr Rogerson in legal claims.
She confirmed damages settlements have now been agreed in the ‘majority’ of cases, having reached a conclusion with the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA), a Government scheme which provides compensation for blameless victims of crime to compensate them for physical and psychological injury and being a victim of a sexual assault.
Mrs Neale said the collective evidence police had been able to gather, from such a large number of people independently coming forward, had been key to the success of legal action.
“This has been a very difficult case for everybody involved and it has taken a great deal of courage for each and every person to come forward and make the allegations they have against Dr Rogerson,” she said.
“As is often the case in such matters, it took one person to bravely speak out and say what had happened to them, despite having kept it from their own family and loved ones for decades, for others to then feel they could do the same.”
CICA decision to pay compensation reflects consistency of individual allegations
Mrs Neale said the decision of the CICA to award damages to those she has represented reflected the consistent nature of allegations being independently made, and was as a result of more people coming forward to police after the initial complaint was made.
“The CICA is the only way of seeking civil redress in situations like this where the alleged perpetrator has since died, and there is no organisation to be held to account for their actions,” she said.
“In this case the legal claims we have been submitting to the Government have been successful because of the consistency and similarity of the independent allegations made, which West Mercia Police have now revealed would have been so significant that Dr Rogerson would have faced questions under caution had he still been alive.
“Our clients have told us that coming forward and seeing this issue being brought to public attention has been huge for them in terms of helping them find some closure. It has also opened doors for them to finally receive vital psychological help and support which they have never previously benefited from.
“Given the recent police comments, this is testament to their bravery and underlines why it is so important that there are appropriate channels available for people to come forward and feel able to speak about their past.
“Our door is always open in that sense, but much credit must also be given to West Mercia Police who have also made sure these people have been listened to, cared for and their allegations taken so seriously on a matter where no criminal proceedings could ever have been launched due to the circumstances.”