The devastated victims of a former care worker who sexually abused them have revealed how they have struggled to move on and lead normal lives.
Former care worker Duncan Ritchie, 71, of Highfields Way, Holmewood, Chesterfield, has been jailed for 11-and-a-half years after he was found guilty of eleven sexual charges involving five teenagers following a trial.
Derby Crown Court heard today, Thursday, November 30, how Ritchie committed the offences during the 1980s when he worked at Greenacres care home, in Clay Cross, and Lindenhurst care home, in Chesterfield.
Prosecuting barrister Grace Hale said Ritchie had operated with planning that had involved grooming and he had abused the youngsters’ trust as he targeted vulnerable children.
She added: “All the complainants have the same issue with trust being eroded as a result of the abuse they suffered as young children.”
The charges included one count of indecent assault against a boy, three counts of indecent assault against a girl, one count against another girl, four counts against another girl and two counts against a further girl.
In some cases, individual counts had involved multiple incidents and Ritchie’s overall offending had involved kissing, touching naked genitalia and breasts, masturbation, vaginal penetration, oral sex and sado-masochism.
His victims, who cannot be named for legal reasons, revealed how they were so badly affected by the abuse that some turned to drugs and alcohol or became suicidal and have needed counselling and rehabilitation.
They also stated that they have struggled to trust people and authority figures and have had difficulties developing relationships.
The court heard how Ritchie had been jailed for a theft in 1978 but was subsequently employed by Derbyshire County Council as a residential care worker at Greenacres and Lindenhurst.
Judge Robert Egbuna told Ritchie: “You weren’t worried about being apprehended because the culture of Greenacres was to turn a blind eye and as you said the accusations were ten-a-penny.”
He also told the defendant: “You considered vulnerable children under your care as sexual tools. You did not care about their well-being.
He added: “You wreaked havoc and the effect has been devastating.”
Defence barrister Clive Stockwell said Ritchie who is a married man with family and grandchildren suffers with a heart condition, high blood pressure and diabetes.
Mr Stockwell added: “The impact is going to be most keenly felt by his family rather than him.”
Ritchie was found guilty of eleven counts of indecent assault concerning the five victims.
The defendant originally faced 28 sexual charges against seven teenagers but he was found not guilty on 12 counts and the remaining five counts were ordered to lie on file.
Judge Egbuna told Ritchie: “You continued to live in a matrimonial home while your victims have not had a life.
“The offending is so serious only a custodial sentence of some length is appropriate.”
Judge Egbuna also placed Ritchie on the Sex Offenders’ Register for life.
Following the hearing, Detective Constable Lisa Bailey who led the police investigation said: “The victims have shown immense strength throughout the trial and I hope that this conclusion will bring them some sort of closure to what has been an extremely difficult time for them.”