Former nursery staff sue over abuse claim

Two former nursery workers accused of sexually
abusing children in their care in a local authority report are
suing for libel.

Dawn Reed and Christopher Lillie have brought
their action in the high court against Newcastle Council, which
commissioned the 1998 Abuse in Early Years report, the
Newcastle Chronicle and Journal, which reported the story,
and the report authors Richard Barker, Judith Jones, Roy Wardell
and Jacqui Sarajian.

The pair were acquitted in 1994 of indecently
assaulting young children at a nursery when a judge ruled there
could not be a fair trial after he saw the video testimony of a
child, who was the prosecution’s best case.

Some parents had reported that their children
had been abused by nursery staff. And the report, written after the
court case, concluded the pair had sexually, physically and
emotionally abused up to 65 children at the Shieldfield nursery in

Reed denied claims that she and Lillie had
ever acted inappropriately with children. She told the court: “All
the allegations that I am an abuser, that I was part of a
paedophile ring, that I have a perverted sexual relationship with
Chris Lillie and that I ever hurt a child are completely untrue.”
The case continues.

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