A FORMER social services chief has been charged with sexually assaulting youngsters at a centre for problem children in the North East.
Dr Rod Ryall was a live-in housemaster at Aycliffe Approved School, near Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, in the 1960s and 1970s.
The Oxford graduate and former Scout leader, who spent most of his career working with children, now lives in West Yorkshire, where he was a director of Calderdale social services.
He has been charged with a number of offences dating back to his time at Aycliffe.
A spokesman for Durham Police said: “A 67-year-old man from Mirfield, in West Yorkshire, was charged with 13 sexual offences, some dating from more than 40 years ago. “Between 1967 and 1970, he is accused of a total of six cases of indecent assault and four of gross indecency. His alleged victims were two 15-year-old boys at the former approved school in County Durham.
“He is charged with a further two counts of indecent assault and one of gross indecency alleged on a 13-year-old boy in West Yorkshire between 1975 and 1977. At that time the man was said to have been a Scout leader.”
Soon after Dr Ryall graduated, in 1961, he became a housemaster at the approved school, before working at a similar facility in the Midlands.
He gained a PhD from Cambridge and became a professional adviser to the children’s committee for the Wessex region in Southampton.
In 1974, he joined Calderdale Borough Council and spent three years on its child protection committee looking into child abuse. He resigned as director of social services for Calderdale in 1988.
Aycliffe Approved School – also known as Aycliffe Young People’s Centre – was thrust into the national spotlight in the 1980s and 1990s amid allegations of brutality and a prison-style regime.
Its reputation has recovered in recent years and it has built an international reputation for its work with troubled children.
In May, it was announced that the Durham County Council-run centre will receive £7m in Government funding towards a rebuild that will cost £12m.
Dr Ryall has been bailed to appear at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates’ Court on October 15.