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Monday, 20 November 2017

Fostered sisters who were 'beaten and abused' taking legal action against council

Written by The Press Association

Three sisters are taking legal action against a council over claims they were abused by their foster parents for nearly two decades.

The siblings say they were "beaten and abused" by John and Alma Cassidy during the 1990s and 2000s.

According to the Daily Record physical attacks are said to have been carried out by Alma Cassidy during the day while her husband John subjected victims to sexual attacks at night.

Council chiefs asked John Cassidy to leave the house after three other women claimed they had been abused by him.

However, the paper says the authority "allegedly failed to check on the predator afterwards" which allowed him to return home and keep abusing the sisters.

Now the trio have launched legal action against Glasgow City Council which placed them with the foster parents, who died some years ago.

In a statement made through Digby Brown Solicitors, the sisters said: "John and Alma Cassidy weren't just two of the worst fosterers imaginable - they were two of the worst humans.

"They are both now deceased so have escaped prosecution.

"But justice shouldn't die just because your abuser does."

They added: "We believe Glasgow City Council are at fault as they selected and paid the Cassidys to care for us and are in disbelief at how easy it was for John's abuse to continue even after they were alerted to the risk he posed to us.

"It makes us wonder how many other abusive fosterers are out there, but also how many survivors have been let down not just in Glasgow but potentially across the country.

"To anyone who is aware of abuse that happened or is happening, please have the courage to step forward and help survivors find justice and rebuild their lives."

The trio are raising a civil action against the authority because it paid the foster parents public money to care for the children.

This is known as "vicarious liability" and allows survivors to raise claims against groups such as religious bodies, councils or football clubs.

Kim Leslie, partner and specialist abuse Lawyer at Digby Brown, added: "As a foster parent John Cassidy held one of the most responsible roles in society.

"However we believe he abused his position to repeatedly assault children in his care over a number of years.

"Initial investigations of Glasgow City Council's own files show it was made aware John Cassidy was a potential risk to minors but we believe it did not take appropriate protective measures which resulted in the continued sexual abuse of the children.

"We can confirm we have intimated three claims for vicarious liability in relation to historic childhood abuse but it would inappropriate to discuss further details at this time."

A spokesman for Glasgow City Council said: "We can confirm a claim has been received and it would be inappropriate for us to comment further."

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