One of nine children born to John Richard Young and Margaret Young (nee Loveley) Kevin Raymond Young was taken into care on 15th September 1961 suffering from neglect and malnutrition. Both his parents were convicted of his wilful neglect and were given lengthy terms of imprisonment.
He spent his very early years in convents until 1967 when at the age of 8 he was given a place at the Catholic St Thomas More’s school in Devon. Incredibly the sexual abuse he suffered from the gardener, Mr Torres, was the beginning of a series of encounters with paedophiles during his childhood. He eventually fought back, head butting Torres and was expelled from the school for his assault.
At the age of 14 in 1974 he was taken to St Camillus Roman Catholic childrens home near Church Fenton in North Yorkshire. There he was again sexually assaulted by the headmaster, James Bernard Littlewood. All the abuse he was subjected to was under threat of physical violence from those supposed to be caring for him.
He was returned to his parents at the age of 15 and without direction eventually was prosecuted alongside other youths aged 18. Kevin’s offence was the handling of a stolen Timex wristwatch. He received a sentence of 3 months’ youth detention and was driven to the Medomsley Detention Centre, County Durham where he was to face his most menacing threat. He was quickly chosen by Senior Prison Officer Neville Husband for kitchen duties. Husband ran the kitchen single-handed. We now know he sexually abused hundreds of boys there, using his dominant position over boys and other staff to protect his open secret. Kevin complained of literally being tortured. He was locked in. There was no escape. A ligature and photographs featured regularly in his abuse.
Upon release Kevin tried to have Husband prosecuted but was told by police they would not take his complaint. He lost faith in authority to be able to help him. He was disoriented upon leaving Medomsley. Within a year he made York his home. He coped psychologically by dissociating from the appaling abuse and in his words “putting his memories in a tightly sealed box in the attic”. He developed a confident, macho persona and ran a number of highly successful businesses, latterly a property security business with an annual turnover of over a million pounds. He had contracts to supply security for large businesses and the NHS at the Bootham Hospital in York.
His life began to break apart in 1996 after a chance meeting in York city centre when he accidentally bumped into his nemesis, Neville Husband who by then had retired and become a Baptist Minister. Kevin became distressed. He lost his confidence and bravado. His business collapsed and his relationship came to an end. He turned briefly to alcohol and cocaine but in 1999 he refocussed his life when North Yorkshire Police asked for his help with a case against an abuser at St Camillus children’s home. He decided this was the time to trust the police and to open the metaphorical box in the attic. Kevin helped the police convict first James Bernard Littlewood in 2002 and then Neville Husband in February 2003.
Mr Young was the first of his generation to publicly take a stand against child sex abusers. He went on to fight a very significant battle through the courts. His civil case started the most significant fight for the rights of victims of child sex abuse the country has seen. The law of limitations was being used to prevent compensation claims and Mr Young’s pursuit of justice saw the time limit fight decided in the highest court in the land, the Judicial Committee of the House of Lords in 1978. On the decision panel was Lady Hale. The judgement of the House of Lords in this case made it possible for claimants to seek compensation many years after having suffered child sexual abuse.
Mr Young leaves a 17 year old son with whom he lived. He also leaves many devoted friends.
For years Kevin Young was the vanguard of the fight for justice for the hundreds of boys sexually abused at Medomsley Detention Centre and elsewhere. He set up a charity named CUAN to provide telephone helpline support and signposting. Many are indebted to him for his humanity and sense of justice.
In his spare time he was a keen guitarist and country singer around York venues. He used his compensation to open two antique shops in York and maintained a keen interest in buying and selling antiques until his death at Hull Royal Infirmary on 3rd July 2021.