UK to Investigate Claims of Child Abuse Cover-Up
LONDON - Jul 7, 2014
By JILL LAWLESS Associated Press
The British government vowed Monday to discover whether public institutions have exposed vulnerable children to sexual abuse — and whether authorities suppressed abuse allegations to protect politicians and other powerful people.
Home Secretary Theresa May said a panel of legal and child-protection experts would investigate how public agencies, including governments and hospitals, handled child-abuse allegations. She said she set up the inquiry after "appalling cases of organized and persistent" sexual abuse, including decades of assaults by the late TV host Jimmy Savile.
"Some of these cases have exposed a failure by public bodies to take their responsibilities seriously," May told the House of Commons.
May said a related investigation, led by National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children chief executive Peter Wanless, would examine whether abuse claims handed to authorities in the 1980s were lost or destroyed to protect wrongdoers.
Last year, an internal government inquiry found that 114 files relating to allegations of child abuse that were handed to officials had been lost or destroyed....
Savile was exposed after his death in 2011 as a predatory pedophile who assaulted victims in hospitals, children's homes and TV studios.
TV entertainer Rolf Harris was sentenced last week to almost six years in prison after being convicted of 12 counts of abusing girls.
Several recent cases in which gangs of men have been convicted of sexually exploiting girls in the care of local authorities also exposed failures by police and social services.
And after the 2010 death of Liberal Democrat lawmaker Cyril Smith, prosecutors acknowledged that in 1970 eight men accused Smith of abusing them as teens. Prosecutors said Smith was never charged but should have been.
The alleged paedophile ring at the heart of the British Establishment
Investigation in to alleged child abuse ring in Westminster dogged by claims of cover ups and missing files
By Tom Whitehead, Security Editor 06 Jul 2014
The country was still reeling from the horrors of the Jimmy Savile child abuse scandal that saw the BBC accused of cover up and culture of secrecy to protect itself.
But the expose opened the door on a potentially even more explosive scandal – the claims of a VIP Westminster paedophile ring operating from the heart of the British Establishment from the 1960s onwards.
It has led to allegations of a massive cover up across Whitehall spanning decades, pressure on the police and prosecutors not to pursue cases and the apparent disappearance of key dossiers and files detailing claims of child abuse and alleged attackers.
More than 10 current and former politicians are said to be on a list of alleged child abusers now being investigated by police and the pressure is growing for a public inquiry.
But the belated investigations only serve to highlight decades of apparent inaction in the corridors of power to get to the truth despite relentless campaigning by a number of MPs.
The story begins with Cyril Smith, the late Liberal Democrat MP, who was exposed as an alleged paedophile in 2012, two years after his death, aged 82.
Rumours of child abuse had dogged the 29-stone Rochdale politician throughout his career but no action was ever taken.
As early as the 1960s, he allegedly routinely assaulted young boys, especially in children’s homes and special schools in his home town, where he was MP from 1972 to 1992.
He was also said to have been a visitor to the notorious Elm Guest house in South-west London, now the focus of a Scotland Yard investigation into an alleged VIP paedophile ring
It was claimed earlier this year that police received 144 complaints against him over the years but no prosecution was ever brought fuelling allegations he was protected by influential friends....
However, Smith was only one of a number of alleged high profile child abusers within Westminster said to have been named in a 40-page dossier submitted to the Home Office by the late campaigning Tory MP Geoffrey Dickens in 1983.
Mr Dickens told his family at the time that it named leading public figures, including senior politicians, and was going to “blow it all apart”.
It was also said to contain information on the notorious Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE) which was set up in 1974 to promote and lobby the legalisation of sexual activity between minors and adults....
The then Home Secretary Lord (Leon) Brittan was sent the file but no record of any subsequent criminal inquiry has been found and the dossier itself has disappeared....
It is understood more than 10 current and former politicians are now on a list of alleged child abusers held by police investigating claims of a Westminster paedophile ring.
MPs or peers from all three main political parties are on the list, which includes former ministers and household names....