Monthly Archives: February 2017

February 26 2017 -“Report due soon on historical child abuse” – Jersey Evening Post

PUBLISHED: February 25, 2017 4:00 pm

Report due soon on historical child abuse



The panel, led by Frances Oldham QC, spent two years investigating the Island’s care system since 1945 and heard from dozens of care leavers, people who claimed to have suffered abuse and alleged abusers.

THE panel working on the long-awaited report into historical child abuse in Jersey have just a few weeks to publish the document if they are to meet a deadline they imposed on themselves last year.

Towards the end of November the panel, who had previously pledged to complete and publish the report before the end of 2016, announced that their report would be delayed.

Writing on the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry website at the time, the group said that the document would be published ‘during the first quarter of 2017’, adding that further information in respect of the publication would be provided ‘in the New Year’.

No further updates have been given since then, and the end of March marks the end of the first quarter of the year.

It is understood that the panel are likely to announce the publication of the report to the States at short notice before it is released.


May 2013 – “Retired Canon Gordon Rideout guilty at Lewes Crown Court of abuse at Barnado’s home” [Ifield Hall, Crawley – Diocese of Chichester] – Southern Daily Echo

Retired Canon Gordon Rideout guilty at Lewes Crown Court of abuse at Barnado’s home

Former priest guitly of sex offiences in Hampshire

Former priest guitly of sex offiences in Hampshire

A retired Church of England priest found guilty of a catalogue of historic sex attacks on young children at a Barnardo’s home has been jailed for 10 years.

Canon Gordon Rideout, 74, abused more than a dozen girls and boys at the now closed home at Ifield Hall in Crawley, West Sussex, over a four-year period.

The former Anglican clergyman also indecently assaulted two girls at an Army site in Middle Wallop, Hampshire, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.

At Lewes Crown Court, Rideout was found guilty of 34 counts of indecent assault and two counts of attempted rape on 16 children between January 1962 and January 1973.

He was cleared of one count of indecent assault on a boy at a second Barnardo’s home in Essex.

As he was sentenced today, the Bishop of Chichester, Dr Martin Warner, said Rideout had caused ”immeasurable and destructive suffering” over a long period of time.

Most of the charges he was convicted of related to his time as an assistant curate at St Mary’s Church in Crawley when he would visit a Barnardo’s children’s home in the county.

Prosecutor Philip Bennetts QC told the jury that Rideout would visit the home and ”it would appear from the evidence that he would wander the house and indeed the grounds unaccompanied, and he would visit children when they were sick and alone in bed”.

One of his victims recalled Rideout visiting the dormitories at night, put his hands under the covers and ”fondle around”.

Mr Bennetts said: ”It was on a regular basis when he came to stay, maybe once, twice, three times a week sometimes.”

Rideout’s victims did not complain at the time for fear of not being believed.

Jurors heard how Rideout attempted to rape a girl who attended choir practice.

After one occasion in his flat, Rideout walked the girl back to the children’s home and told her: ”This is going to be our secret.”

A month after another rape attempt in a wooded area, the girl believed she was pregnant.

When she confided the abuse to a friend who went on to tell a manager at the home, the victim was slapped across her face. At the home, Mr Bennetts said there existed a ”brutal regime where children were taught how to behave by beatings”.

One girl, who was aged around 14 or 15 at the time she was abused, was asked why she had not reported it to the authorities sooner.

She told police in interview: ”I was too scared, too scared.

”I didn’t want to be beaten again, too scared. The beatings were so much worse than what that man was doing. The beatings were terrible, absolutely terrible.”

One boy asked Rideout why he was molesting him. Rideout replied: ”I’ve got to do it.” When the boy went on to question him why, Rideout added: ”I like little boys.”

Another complainant said she told the married couple who ran the home that the priest was abusing them, but they responded by throwing her against a wall, breaking one of her ribs.

Rideout, of Filching Close, Polegate, East Sussex, was arrested in March last year and charged five months later following a nine-month inquiry by Sussex Police. He denied all the charges.

Barnardo’s director of children’s services Sam Monaghan said after the case: ”We are extremely saddened by this case and our deepest sympathies go out to those who have suffered. It has taken great courage for them to step forward and relive their experiences.

”We are glad that justice has been served and believe it is critical that abusers are held to account for their crimes, regardless of when they took place.

”We take all allegations of historical abuse extremely seriously and we will always co-operate fully with the justice system on such matters.”

Rideout is the latest figure from the scandal-hit diocese of Chichester to be convicted of historic sex crimes against children.

Earlier this month a report was published into the operation of child protection policies in the diocese two years after the former archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams ordered a visitation.

It followed a series of scandals involving clergymen within the diocese which has led to several being arrested, charged and convicted for historic sex crimes against children.

The report’s publication prompted a renewed apology from the current Archbishop, Dr Justin Welby, who said the Anglican church can never ignore the ”hurt and damage” of victims who should ”never have been let down” by people who should have been trusted.

Investigations into Rideout began after police were handed a confidential report by Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss in May 2011 raising concerns about his conduct in the 1960s and early 1970s.

Another priest referred to in the report, Robert Coles, 71, of Eastbourne, was jailed for eight years in February for sex offences against young boys. His offending was not linked to Rideout.

Following the case, the Bishop of Chichester, Dr Martin Warner, said: ”Our primary concern today is with the people who have had to live for a very long time with the consequences of the shameful abuse they suffered from Gordon Rideout.

”We should pay tribute to those who, at considerable personal and emotional cost, have been able to come forward, to provide evidence, and to substantiate accusations as witnesses in the trial which has led to a guilty verdict.

”Gordon Rideout has been the cause of immeasurable and destructive suffering over a long period of time. He has also betrayed the trust and respect of many who have valued his ministry. Today’s verdict will have repercussions in many different ways across Sussex and beyond.

”The Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser, Colin Perkins, and his team have continued their close working relationship with the police throughout this investigations. On behalf of the Diocese of Chichester I would like to put on record our gratitude to them and all those involved in this case.

”But we are left with the question of why it has taken so long for these grave accusations to be taken seriously and brought to trial.

“What lessons do we all have to learn from this terrible catalogue of abuse about the strength and effectiveness of our communication within and between agencies that have responsibility for the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults?

”In the diocese of Chichester we shall continue to interrogate those procedures and to do our very best to ensure that we deliver the quality and standard that others expect of us.”

Some of Rideout’s victims decided not to complain about the abuse he inflicted upon them because of the beatings they would receive for speaking out.

Nigel Pilkington, head of the CPS South East Complex Casework Unit, said: ”As an assistant curate and then chaplain, Gordon Rideout was in a position of trust, which he systemically abused, indecently assaulting the vulnerable youngsters that he met over a number of years.

”He was able to wander through Ifield Hall and the gardens, even visiting children when they were sick and alone in bed. One victim recalled how the children would hide under their covers when he came into their dormitories.

”A number of his victims attempted to speak out about what Rideout was doing, but tragically at the time of the offences, a child’s word was not believed.

”Those who were brave enough to say anything were subjected to brutal beatings. Some of his victims told police in interviews that it simply ‘wasn’t worth complaining’ because of the punishment they would receive in return.

”Instead the victims hid what happened to them for many years and none of us can begin to imagine the impact that has had on their lives.

“I would like to pay tribute to the bravery and the fortitude of the victims in coming forward to give evidence.

”Those who heard the evidence they gave at court will have realised how difficult this has been for them. They may not have been believed as children, but today they finally have been. I hope that helps to give them closure.

”I would like to thank Barnardo’s for the role they played in helping to bring this case to trial.”

Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS South East, Roger Coe-Salazar, said: ”This case is an example of how the CPS successfully prosecutes cases of child sexual abuse and should serve as a warning to those who think they can abuse children with impunity.

”We are exceptionally mindful of how difficult it can be for victims to step forward and place their trust in the authorities many years later, but I hope this case illustrates the support and understanding they will receive from the prosecutors and the police when they do.”

Police said none of the charges Rideout faced related to claims of recent or current offending, and there is no suggestion that any children are currently at risk.

Detective Chief Inspector Jon Gross, of Sussex Police, said: ”It is difficult to overestimate the significance of this verdict for those who have finally seen justice, many decades after being prey to the sexual abuse perpetrated by Gordon Rideout.

”His offending over that period has been hugely impactive upon the lives of his victims, from childhood to the present day.

”It is hoped this case will bring a sense of closure to all of those who provided evidence to the investigation while underlining to the wider community that it is never too late to report serious crimes, however long ago the alleged offending took place.

”In carrying out this investigation we also received full co-operation from the Diocese of Chichester and Barnardo’s Homes.”



1. “Sex abuse priest Gordon Rideout seeks release from jail” – BBC – February 11 2014

2. “Jailed sex predator priest handed additional sentence” – Argus – February 25 2017 – Page 22

August 1 2015 – “Tom Doyle addresses priest abuse survivors” -National Catholic Reporter

Tom Doyle addresses priest sex abuse survivors

  • Tom Doyle


Dominican Fr. Thomas Doyle, who has worked with survivors of priest sex abuse for more than three decades, said Friday, July 31, he continues to grapple with its full dimensions.

“It just seems too big to get my head around,” he said.

Doyle spoke July 31 at the 2015 gathering of SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests), which drew several hundred abuse survivors and supporters to the Westin Alexandria hotel here.

He mused, considering the many years of work survivor supporters have been engaged in, adding that when they got into the work “there was no plan.” Those who got into efforts to bring priest sex abuse to the full attention of the church and force bishops to be accountable, he said, “still did not understand the widespread nature of sex abuse within the church.”

“We only knew the shocking reality that a few Catholic priests had sexually molested by rape and other forms of sexual violation, a number of Catholic children. … Before long however, some began to get glimpses of a far more treacherous and complex reality that was hidden behind the thin cover of the few known cases of sexual abuse.”


Doyle, who has testified in numerous civil suits on behalf of sex abuse survivors, confirmed he met recently with four members of the Vatican commission appointed by Pope Francis to advise him on sex abuse.  Recently, a book on Doyle’s life and work with survivors was published on Amazon.

The following is the text of his July 31 remarks.

1. In the beginning there was no plan

“When the reality of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy gradually emerged into the light back in 1984 and 85, there was no plan. Those of us who were involved back then and who are still around, Jason Berry, Jeff Anderson, Ray Mouton, Tom Fox and myself, among others, only knew the shocking reality that a few Catholic priests had sexually molested by rape and other forms of sexual violation, a number of Catholic children. The predatory priest who brought it all to the surface, Gilbert Gauthe, was a true pedophile with scores of pre-pubescent little boys left in his wake. Hence the inaccurate label, ‘The Pedophile Priest Problem.

No one had any idea of the magnitude of the issue. In fact, I don’t think any of us even knew what the real issue was other than the fact that a few families had openly denounced Gauthe and in time a few other priests, to church authorities.

Before long however, some began to get glimpses of a far more treacherous and complex reality that was hidden behind the thin cover of the few known cases of sexual abuse. Ray Mouton, Mike Peterson and I began to see some of the indicators as events rapidly unfolded in 1985, but we could not possibly have comprehended the monster that was slowly showing itself.

Perhaps a lighter analogy will give some idea of what it was like. In the classic Spielberg movie, ‘Close Encounters of a Third Kind,’ the scene when the humans meet the other beings is striking. As they anxiously wait for something to happen, small, multi-colored space ships are seen zipping around the site. Then there is a period of calm followed by huge billowing dark clouds and from them emerges the mammoth mother ship.

What I am getting at is this: This issue was never limited to the sexual violation of a few young boys by priests. That was both the unintended smokescreen but also the primary symptom of a much deeper and pervasive problem. The real problem of course is the manner with which the government of the institutional Catholic church and the heavily clericalized Catholic culture has responded to the reality of boys and girls, men and women from every corner of the church who come forward with chilling tales of sexual violation by clerics.

Jason Berry first exposed the duplicity in the Times of Acadiana in the spring of 1985. The truth he told was not what most people expected and surely not what most Catholics wanted to hear, but it was the truth and this truth demanded action that would in time change the course of Catholic history.

In the beginning there was no plan! The victims and their families did what they had been taught to do: rely on the “church” to do the right thing. Some lay Catholics responded with disbelief and others with hostility directed at the victims. Some bishops who had never been faced with such an accusation against a priest were baffled but a significant number continued responding in the manner that was the root cause of the so-called scandal: denial, intimidation and cover-up. Cover up had been embedded in the culture of the institutional church as the first response to any internal problem that threatened to tarnish the image or weaken the power of the hierarchy.

There has been sex abuse by clerics in the church since the very beginning. The evidence is found primarily in official church documents and in other nonofficial but authentic sources such as the Book of Gomorrah of St. Peter Damien, written in the 11th century. There were periods in history, especially in the late middle ages and early renaissance, when clergy sex abuse was publicly acknowledged by church authorities, especially popes. Church leaders began wrapping it in thick blankets of secrecy from the 18th century onward and by the mid-twentieth century, when many of our own memories of the church began, it was generally not only unheard of but unimaginable by most clerics and certainly the vast majority of lay people.

The lid of secrecy was pried open in 1983 and gradually, over the next few years, we began to see a horrifically different vision of the institutional Church. This was not the discovery of a new problem for the church. It was the steady unraveling of a paradigm that depended on power, image, deference and above all, clericalism, to survive. The chapter of Church history that began in 1984 was radically different from the past encounters with clergy sexual misbehavior because this time the victims did not cower in a darkened corner, overwhelmed and controlled by the hierarchy. This time, much to the shock of the bishops, the clergy and a significant segment of the lay population, the victims stood up and refused to be intimidated into silence. They didn’t have a plan. A plan had them.

In the early days those who dutifully sought help from the official church soon found they were running up a blind alley. These were devoted, loyal, obedient, practicing Roman Catholics. For some of the parents, their love of their children and the indescribable shock and pain of knowing that they had been sexually violated, minimized their obedience and devotion and led them to find a way that would bring acknowledgement and support for their children. I recall one woman who told her bishop after he had threatened her, ‘I am a mother before I’m a Catholic.’

And so the unraveling of the paradigm began. The parents, and later on the victims themselves, went to the civil courts of our country to seek what their church should have provided but did not. They did not want money or revenge. All they asked was recognition that what had happened was real and most of all, a guarantee that the abusing cleric would be appropriately dealt with so that no other child would be harmed. This is what they asked of the church and in return they received intimidation to silence and false assurances that ‘Father would be taken care of.’

The first court case on the North American continent was initiated in 1983 by Jeff Anderson when he represented a victim of Tom Adamson, and rather than take a hefty settlement, his client chose to pursue justice. The case that really rocked the church however was that of the infamous Gilbert Gauthe in Lafayette, Louisiana. One brave couple and their ten-year-old son pulled out of a secret deal with the diocese and obtained the help of a brilliant, tough Cajun lawyer named Minos Simon. This was the case that brought the reality of sex abuse to the Vatican and this was the case that started the chain reaction that is still going on. This was the case that drew me into this maelstrom.  Without any plan but acting on what we believed was right, two others and I were drawn together. The outcome was not only the famous ‘Manual’ but a radical change in our lives. The plan now had us and the plan was simple yet, as we learned, close to impossible to accomplish. The bottom line is this: no ecclesiastical office nor the ecclesiastical power structure itself was so important that it justified the sexual, physical or spiritual violation of a single person whether that person was male or female, child or adult. That may sound solid and reasonable to us but to many in the clerical culture and among the lay population, it is heresy of the worst kind.

The Manual was not only rejected by the U.S. bishops’ conference as superfluous but it was also maligned as a threat to the prerogatives of individual bishops. Mike, Ray and I were publicly accused of using it as a means of making a profit from the sex abuse cases by selling our services to the bishops. This accusation, leveled by the bishops through their General Counsel, was not only ludicrous but slanderous. Nevertheless the Manual had an impact that is felt even in the present. The Canadian bishops used it in putting together their own policy, From Pain to Hope, but more important, it has served as an on-going reproach to the institutional church by reminding them what they could have done but failed to do.

Clergy sexual abuse entered the civil law arena in the U.S. in 1983. The first actual trial was in Louisiana in 1986. Since that time there have been several thousand cases filed in the U.S. and several hundred trials. The majority of civil cases have been settled without trial and most of the criminal trials have ended in conviction. There would have been no just or fair settlements for victims had they not sought the help of the civil courts.”

2. From passive confusion to action

“Although there was a massive scandal in Canada in 1989 centered around the Mount Cashel Orphanage, pulling the lid off the cover-up in Canada took many years while in the U.S. the victims came to the conclusion very quickly that they would get no recognition, no justice and no support from the bishops and religious orders. They took the first steps by taking charge of their own recovery. These steps, which seemed small and isolated, with a bleak future proved to be a profound force that would forever change the way the Catholic hierarchy and the leadership of other churches and organizations  would respond to sexual violations by clerics.

Not long after the sexual abuse phenomenon entered the civil courts my role, which I had never really defined, changed significantly. The first attorney to call me was a man from San Francisco. It was in 1990 and he wanted help understanding the nature and functioning of an archdiocese, which understandably seemed complex, byzantine and incomprehensible to him. It was all of that and more but I had been trained to navigate what I later came to see as a very bizarre alternate reality. Thus I became a court consultant and court expert without even knowing that such roles existed.

The civil law arena has been the only path whereby victims and survivors could pursue justice with hope for success because the courts and the American legal world represent a power that cannot be controlled or compromised by the institutional church. From the very beginning this stunned not only the American hierarchy but the Vatican as well.  They simply could not comprehend a power greater than they, but that power was there and it was harnessed not by huge, prestigious and heavily influential law firms such as those often retained by the institutional church, but by sole practitioners here and there who were committed to helping their clients, the victims, and not afraid to forge into the unknown to achieve justice.

There is no question in my mind that the American attorneys not only led the way but inspired their counterparts in other countries to stand up to the social and cultural pressure that protected the church, in the name of those whom the church conveniently forgot.

Winning in the courts in the U.S. or anywhere else demanded research, expertise from a variety of disciplines, persistence, a thick skin and the ability and willingness to bounce back. The discovery process whereby the victims’ attorneys demanded and obtained the heretofore hidden, and according to some defense attorneys non-existent church files, revealed a massive amount of information about the institutional church and sex abuse. The thin excuses offered by bishops individually and as a group fell flat in the face of documented historical reality.

From the beginning the men and women who represented victims and survivors were faced with seemingly endless barriers put up by the bishops and their attorneys.  Many of these were claims about the church and its structures that sounded reasonable at first but in fact were as real as fairy tales.  The survivors’ attorneys turned to a very small group of men and women whose education, training and experience qualified them to separate the few facts from the mountains of fiction.  A few examples of the church’s assertions should illustrate the point:

  • The Catholic church does not keep files on priests.
  • Priests are not connected to a diocese.  They are independent contractors.
  • A bishop has no authority over what a priest does on his own time.
  • Celibate priests are naïve about sex and easily seduced by street wise young kids.
  • The relationship of a bishop to his priests is like a father to a son and is covered by legal privilege.
  • Bishops have no authority over religious orders working in their dioceses.
  • We never knew anything about sex abuse until the mid eighties.
  • If a priest perpetrator goes to confession he emerges a new man.  His sin is gone.  To pursue the matter is a violation of church-state separation.
  • The victims need to put this behind them and move on.
  • Little boys heal

The court processes have not simply been about processing cases. They have been about discovering the very dark side of the Catholic church. The most thorough history of clergy sexual abuse in the US and in other countries as well has emerged from the discovery of information in court processes but also from the investigations of the grand juries in the U.S. and of the inquiry commissions in Ireland and Australia and soon in the U.K.

The challenges faced by the survivors’ attorneys were often the catalyst for serious research into many of the aspects of sexual abuse especially abuse perpetrated within the context of the institutional church. Some of the claims by the church necessitated serious research into the history and meaning of the priesthood and into the detailed workings of church government and its legal system. The need to overcome the statutes of limitations in various states provoked research and study into the short and long-term effects of sexual abuse of minors and adults which has revealed, among other things, that sexual violation by Catholic clerics has a unique and often more devastating impact than other forms of abuse. The book that Dick Sipe, Pat Wall and I published in 2006, Sex, Priests and Secret Codes began as a research paper I was asked to do by Jeff Anderson to discover the extent of prior knowledge by bishops in general. One of the results of the research was that sexual abuse of minors has been a known problem since the 1st century.

This historical research has contributed to the demise of the nonsensical mantra “We’re on a steep learning curve” and has changed the meaning of  its companion mantra ‘we just didn’t know’ to ‘we just didn’t know we’d get caught.’

The research that Dick Sipe, Pat Wall and I have been engaged in and continue to pursue is in two basic areas: the clerical culture and the lopsided teaching of human sexuality in that culture is one area. The other area concerns the aspect that causes the anger, confusion and which lights up the media, the courts, the grand juries and the government commissions namely, the culture of cover-up and lying and the hostile and destructive way victims, their families and their supporters have been consistently treated by the institutional church. Just knowing these facts about clergy sex abuse is not enough. We need to know why.

All of the research and continuous study of church files and court records has two basic goals: supporting and helping victims and survivors in their quest for justice in the courts on their path to healing is the first and most important. The second is to dig as deeply as possible into the “why” … into the reasons for the official church’s response so that the nightmare that has been the darkest of the church’s dark side will not be a part of its future.

Looking back on thirty-one years of direct and often intense involvement in this walk on the dark side, I can say that there is little doubt that the achievements that have been made in recognizing the horror of sexual violation, the causal role of the institutional churches and other institutions in enabling it and the high priority now given to the protection of children and vulnerable adults would never have happened were it not for the courage, the persistence, the patience, the dedication and even the anger of the victims and the survivors. We have changed history!”

3. What the research and court process has revealed

“Some of the things we have learned from the constant research and from the thirty years of experience in the civil courts are obvious and others may be a new revelation to some.

  • The institutional church and other institutions have focused on their own security and power and not on the victims of their own malfeasance.
  • There has been and continues to be a deeply adversarial relationship between the hierarchy of the Catholic church and the victims of its abuse.
  • The response of the institutional church and its office-holders has been shaped by fundamental elements or aspects of the church itself, elements which need to be changed. In other words the reasons why clerics had easy access to children and the reasons for the cover-up are not external or extrinsic to the church but part of its teaching and structure.
  • Doctrinal orthodoxy has nothing to do with sexual violation and its cover-up. The survivors are not “dissenters” but those who obsess with protecting the institution are: they have strayed from the orthodox core of Catholicism, which is the example of Christ, not the word of the pope.
  • There is either a misunderstanding of the fundamental meaning of ‘church’ or a conscious rejection of it by the bishops and others who have tried to act ‘for the good of the church’ at the expense of victims. According to the teaching of Jesus Christ, the victims are the church as much or even more than the hierarchy.
  • There is destructive duplicity and a hypocrisy about the hierarchy’s public expressions of concern for victims and assurances that their welfare is paramount when at the same time bishops demean, malign and attempt to destroy victims who seek justice in the only place where it can be found, the civil courts.
  • The real attitude of many in the church, bishops included, is evident in the disgraceful way some of the church’s attorneys have treated victims. One of our strongest supporters and most essential resources once said that he found the church’s lawyers in general to be the most morally challenged group he had ever encountered. We don’t have to look too far to see the verification of this opinion.
  • The horrific existence of the abuse of vulnerable persons in the Catholic church will not end until the culture and the structures that have enabled it are radically changed.

I’d like to conclude by offering a few words about something else. I’ve learned over the years, primarily from some of the attorneys I have closely associated with. We have all experienced anger, pessimism and negativity along this very treacherous path. By “all” I include the men in the clerical world as well.  I have learned that I was on a path of emotional and spiritual self-destruction as long as I let the anger control me and allowed it to overflow onto just about everything I said and did. What we have achieved is not the result of uncontrolled anger but patience and hope.

When I was asked to assist the Pontifical Commission I had to confront my own cynicism and the negativity directed towards everyone and everything that made up the hierarchical dimension of the church and in doing so I concluded that living with such attitudes was counter-productive. They were causing me to lose sight of what I should be about, which is certainly not engaging in a constant, hostile battle, but doing what I can to help survivors, their families and their loved ones someday find a culture of understanding, support and compassion.”

February 20 2017 – “Police chief hits out at tabloid over Edward Heath claims” – The Guardian

Police chief hits out at tabloid over Edward Heath abuse claims

Mike Veale intervenes after Mail on Sunday claimed investigators believe there was cover-up to protect former prime minister

Edward Heath
Several police forces across Britain have received allegations about Edward Heath. Photograph: Tim Graham/Getty Images

The chief constable of a police force investigating allegations that the late Sir Edward Heath sexually abused children has criticised tabloid claims that he is “120%” certain the complaints are true.

Mike Veale, the chief constable of Wiltshire police, said it was the job of the police to “objectively and proportionately” chase down leads. He said those who commented on the case while not in possession of the facts could damage the reputations of both the former prime minister and people who have disclosed alleged abuse.

Wiltshire police chief constable Mike Veale
Wiltshire police chief constable Mike Veale. Photograph: Wiltshire police

It is unusual for chief constables to comment on ongoing investigations but the force published a statement by Veale following a story in the Mail on Sunday.

The tabloid claimed private comments made by Veale shows investigators believe the claims are true, and that there was a cover up to protect Heath. The paper has previously criticised the Wiltshire investigation.

A source who claimed to know Veale’s thinking is quoted in the paper as saying: “There are very close similarities in the accounts given by those who have come forward. The same names used for him, the same places and same type of incidents keep coming up. What stands out is that the people giving these accounts are not connected but the stories and the details dovetail.”

The source added: “Mr Veale believes in them 120% and thinks they are totally convincing.”

In December, Veale put out an open letter – again a very unusual step – vowing not to buckle under “unacceptable” media pressure and insisting the investigation into the late prime minister is not a “fishing trip” or a “witch-hunt”.

Following the new Mail on Sunday piece, Veale said: “This letter was written as a direct consequence further to unhelpful and inappropriate speculation about this case. However, this speculation continues and is of huge concern to me as I believe it will undermine trust and confidence in the police, have a potential prejudicial impact upon a live ongoing investigation, not to mention an impact upon the the confidence of persons who have come forward with information.

“In my letter I made a number of points to provide absolute clarity about why Wiltshire police is conducting this investigation. To reiterate, there is a clear legal requirement and supporting national policy from the College of Policing that I am required to undertake an investigation where allegations have been made, regardless of whether the alleged offender is living or deceased.

“In relation to the recent unhelpful speculation regarding the veracity of the allegations made, let me once again be clear, it is not the role of the police to judge the guilt or innocence of people in our criminal justice system.

“Our role is to objectively and proportionately go where the evidence takes us. Further, those who choose to continue to make comment on this case whilst not in possession of the facts ultimately may serve to unfairly damage both the reputation of Sir Edward Heath and/or those who have disclosed abuse.

“At the end of my open letter I stated that I would not be making further comment about the investigation unless it was for operational policing purposes. Other than to provide clarity around a number of key points, my position remains unchanged.

“The operational security of this investigation and the anonymity of the people who have come forward remains of paramount importance to Wiltshire police.”

Several police forces across Britain have received claims about Heath. The investigation is being co-ordinated and led by Wiltshire police because the former prime minister had a home in the force’s area.

Policing was rocked by the fallout from a Scotland Yard inquiry, Operation Midland, into claims establishment figures were involved in child sexual abuse in the 1970s and 1980s.

A report in November 2016 castigated the Metropolitan police for being duped by false claims from a complainant given the name “Nick”. In that case, police chiefs were among the last to realise their inquiry, which wrongly targeted establishment figures, was an error.

Heath died in 2005, aged 89, meaning there can be no trial, making the resolution of the allegations complicated. At the end of their investigation, police are planning a report assessing whether the evidence gathered would have been sufficient to charge him.

February 19 2017 – “Top bishop’s diocese under fire over child sex abuse ‘cover-up'” – Mail on Sunday – Simon Walters [Political Editor]

Top bishop’s diocese is under fire over a child sex abuse ‘cover-up’ after a trainee vicar raped two Christian girls

  • Timothy Storey was jailed for 15 years for for grooming girls on Facebook
  • ‘Arrogant’ Reverend Hugh Valentine refused to give evidence in court 
  • Reverend Jeremy Crossley is also now facing disciplinary action
  • Richard Chartres, head of the London Diocese was urged to punished them but did not

One of Britain’s best-known bishops faced controversy last night after it emerged his diocese refused to punish two leading priests in a new church child sex abuse row.

The London diocese, headed by the Bishop of London Richard Chartres – the third most senior Church of England cleric – faced a call by the bishop’s own independent inquiry to consider punishing two priests criticised after a trainee vicar raped two Christian girls.

But the diocese did not take any action, saying it could cause further upset to the victims.

The London diocese, headed by the Bishop of London Richard Chartres (pictured) – the third most senior Church of England cleric – faced a call by the bishop’s own independent inquiry to consider punishing two priests criticised after a trainee vicar raped two Christian girls

The London diocese, headed by the Bishop of London Richard Chartres (pictured) – the third most senior Church of England cleric – faced a call by the bishop’s own independent inquiry to consider punishing two priests criticised after a trainee vicar raped two Christian girls

Oxford-educated Timothy Storey was jailed for 15 years last April after a court heard how he groomed hundreds of children on Facebook, using his position as children’s pastor to prey on ‘weak, insecure girls’.

Judge Philip Katz lambasted the ‘utterly incompetent failure’ of ‘arrogant’ church leaders to protect young girls – and accused them of a cover-up. Bishop Chartres apologised and set up an independent inquiry into the scandal.

The Mail on Sunday has established that it was concluded five months ago.

Oxford-educated Timothy Storey was jailed for 15 years last April after a court heard how he groomed hundreds of children on Facebook

Oxford-educated Timothy Storey was jailed for 15 years last April after a court heard how he groomed hundreds of children on Facebook

Its full contents were kept secret, but this newspaper can reveal the inquiry said both clerics should face disciplinary action – even though both had already been removed from their children’s supervisory roles.

We can also disclose that the two clerics – identified in the report only as ‘clergy person A and B’ – are the Reverend Hugh Valentine and the Reverend Jeremy Crossley.

Valentine was Bishop Chartres’s adviser on child protection during Storey’s reign of terror. The Storey trial judge criticised his ‘arrogance’ in refusing to give evidence.

Valentine has carried on as curate at St James’s Church, Westminster. In his sermon last Sunday, entitled Sexuality And Bishops, he accused the Church of treating gays and lesbians like ‘embarrassing relations’ and said religion had helped breed ‘hatred’, including ‘homophobia, misogyny and racism’.

Valentine also works for a young person’s charity, the Walcot Foundation. Crossley was Bishop Chartres’s director of ordinands, and is Rector at St Margaret Lothbury Church in the City of London.

During Storey’s trial, Judge Katz said the diocese was ‘stone deaf’ to complaints from the victims of self-confessed sex addict Storey, and ‘shamefully’ tried to shift the blame to police. Some of its leaders ‘seemed to be worried about the reputational damage to the diocese’.

Police praised the media for finally bringing Storey to justice.

Hugh Valentine
Jeremy Crossley

We can also disclose that the two clerics – identified in the report only as ‘clergy person A and B’ – are the Reverend Hugh Valentine (left) and the Reverend Jeremy Crossley (right)

The review ordered by Bishop Chartres said the Church should ‘consider an investigation under the Clergy Disciplinary Measure’ (CDM) into Valentine and Crossley.

It said the Church must face ‘the consequences’ of its blunders.

A spokesman for the diocese said: ‘Legal analysis concluded there were not sufficient grounds to pursue complaints under the CDM and any failed process would cause further pain to survivors.’

The decision followed an assessment by the diocesian safeguarding team, not the bishop.

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November 2014 – Operation Midland launched by Metropolitan Police [and closed in March 2016]

Elm Guest House claims and controversy

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Elm Guest House was alleged to have been used by a Westminster paedophile ring.[5] Prominent people who were claimed, without any proof, to have attended parties at Elm Guest House included the Liberal MP Sir Cyril Smith, the Conservative MP Sir Nicholas Fairbairn,[6] the Soviet spy Anthony Blunt, the former British diplomat Sir Peter Hayman, and the Foreign Office barrister Colin Peters, who was later jailed in 1989 for being part of a network which abused over a hundred boys.[4][7][8] According to The Independent, other alleged visitors to the guesthouse include a Sinn Féin politician, a Labour MP and several Conservative politicians.[3][9] During 2014 and 2015, allegations against several other leading politicians of the period, mostly now deceased, were made public in the British press.

An investigation, Operation Fairbank, led by the Metropolitan Police Service, started in late 2012. This was a “scoping exercise” aimed at a “preliminary assessment of the evidence rather than a formal inquiry”,[10] and the existence of the “assessment” operation was confirmed only on 12 December 2012 after operating in secret for several weeks.[10] As a result of allegations arising from Operation Fairbank, a full criminal investigation, Operation Fernbridge, was launched in February 2013.[11] In November 2014, another operation—Operation Midland—was set up to examine claims of a possible homicide,[12] later extended to cover allegations of three murders and activities at the Dolphin Square development in Pimlico and elsewhere;[13] on 21 March 2016, the Metropolitan Police confirmed that Operation Midland had been closed without any charges being brought.[14] In 2015, the Independent Police Complaints Commission began investigating claims that the Metropolitan Police had suppressed evidence of child sexual abuse and prevented the investigation of some allegations between 1970 and 2005, because of the alleged involvement of police officers and MPs.[15]

In addition to eight guest rooms, facilities at the three-storey Elm Guest House included a sauna, solarium and video studio.[7][16] The Edwardian house is now a private residence, and the current occupants are not connected to the allegations.[17]

Claims by Tom Watson MP

Operation Fairbank was set up following claims by Labour MP Tom Watson in the House of Commons that the police should look afresh at claims of a “powerful paedophile network linked to Parliament and No 10”.[10] Watson raised the issue at Prime Minister’s Questions on 24 October 2012.[10][18] The information was passed to him by a journalist from the investigative news website Exaro.[19] He suggested that such a network may have existed in the past at a high level, protected by connections to Parliament and involving a close aide to a former Prime Minister; neither the aide nor the former Prime Minister were named.[20]

Watson referred to Peter Righton, a former consultant to the National Children’s Bureau, who was convicted of importing and possessing illegal pornographic material in 1992. Watson said that files on Righton contained “clear intelligence of a widespread paedophile ring…One of its members boasts of a link to a senior aide of a former Prime Minister, who says he could smuggle indecent images of children from abroad.”[10]

Operation Fairbank

The police investigation known as Operation Fairbank was first set up under conditions of secrecy. The Independent on Sunday[21] reported that it focused on claims of sexual abuse and the grooming of children, involving parties for men at the former Elm Guest House in Rocks Lane, close to Barnes Common in south-west London, during the late 1970s and 1980s.

The guest house was managed at the time by Carole Kasir, who died in 1990 at the age of 47; an inquest found that the cause of Kasir’s death was an overdose of insulin. Two employees from the National Association for Young People in Care told the coroner they believed that because Kasir seemingly had not had an insulin injection for three days, she had been murdered. Nevertheless, she was found to have committed suicide.[21] A party was raided by the police in 1982, following which 12 boys gave evidence that they had been abused by men at the house. Kasir was convicted of the charge of running a disorderly house, but allegations of abuse against children, and a subsequent reported investigation in 2003, were apparently not pursued.[21]

The Independent on Sunday reported in January 2013 that police were investigating claims that Cyril Smith, a former Liberal MP who died in 2010, sexually abused young boys at Elm Guest House, which the article claimed “was allegedly used by a powerful paedophile network whose members are said to have included former leading Conservative politicians.”[22] Smith is reported to have been a regular visitor to Elm Guest House.[23] A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: “We can confirm Cyril Smith visited the premises.”[24]

In February 2013, it was reported that police were investigating allegations that in the early 1980s a “paedophile ring of VIPs” abused boys from the Grafton Close Children’s Home in Richmond, south-west London. A claim was also made that Kasir had photographs or video of many establishment figures at Elm Guest House, one photograph allegedly showing a former cabinet minister in a sauna with a naked boy.[25] One alleged victim of abuse at the guest house said that at the age of 13 he and his 12-year-old brother, both orphans, were sent there for parties when they were residents at Grafton Close Children’s home. He said boys were plied with alcohol before being abused by men at the guesthouse.[4] In March 2013, The Independent on Sunday reported that at least three men named in documents as visitors to the Elm Guest House were later convicted of multiple sexual offences against children.[7]

It was reported in December 2013 that a former Conservative cabinet minister was being investigated as part of Operation Fairbank, following the seizure of footage and photographs from a London party where children were abused in the 1980s. The film and images were seized at the home of a known paedophile in London. The unnamed politician was photographed entering the property where the party was held. One alleged victim has claimed that the ex-cabinet minister was one of those who raped him.[26] Cyril Smith and Jimmy Savile were among other alleged visitors to the parties. Some of the parties were organised by Sidney Cooke, who was jailed in the 1980s for the rape and manslaughter of Jason Swift in east London.[26] Cooke, described by The Guardian in 1999 as “Britain’s most notorious paedophile”,[27] was part of a ring of paedophiles who picked up young boys in London, often taking them to Amsterdam to be abused. Allegations were reported in December 2013 that several Conservative MPs frequently attended sex parties in Amsterdam in order to have sex with young boys.[26]

Criminal investigation – Operation Fernbridge

A full criminal investigation, Operation Fernbridge, was launched as a result of allegations that arose from Operation Fairbank. Two men, a Catholic priest from Norwich, and a man understood to be connected to the Grafton Close children’s home in Richmond, were arrested on suspicion of sexual offences and questioned by child investigation officers from Operation Fernbridge in February 2013.[11][28] A third arrest, of a 69-year-old man, took place in July 2013.[29] A trial against Tony McSweeney, the Catholic priest, started at Southwark Crown Court in February 2015. However, John Stingemore, the man who formerly worked for Richmond Council, was found dead at his home in January 2015 whilst still awaiting trial.[30] The two men always denied the charges against them.[31]

Operation Fernbridge was supported by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre and Richmond Social Services.[11] In June 2013 it was reported that seven police officers were working on the case and were following more than 300 leads.[19] In July 2014, the Metropolitan Police confirmed that they had more than tripled the number of officers working on the case, announcing that 22 officers were working on the operation.[32]

In March 2015, it was reported that Operation Fernbridge had closed, but that allegations that had been made to it were still being considered as part of other ongoing investigations.[33]

Westminster paedophile dossier

In 1983, Conservative MP Geoffrey Dickens compiled a dossier, telling his family it was “explosive” and would “blow the lid” on powerful and famous child abusers. The dossier was handed over to the then Home Secretary, Leon Brittan, who acknowledged receipt in a letter and suggested the police had been informed. The dossier was subsequently lost. The Observer revealed on 5 July 2014 that the Dickens dossier was just one of 114 potentially relevant files found to be missing by officials when they did their initial search.[16] The chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee Keith Vaz said that files had been lost “on an industrial scale”.[34] In July 2014, Prime Minister David Cameron ordered an enquiry into the missing Dickens dossier,[35] and a subsequent inquiry by Peter Wanless and Richard Whittam QC failed to find the dossier or missing files.[36]

Allegations of impropriety by police officers

The Independent on Sunday reported in 2014 that the police’s Professional Standards Directorate was examining potential criminal offences by undercover officers at the time of a police raid on Elm Guest House in June 1982. The raid took place while two officers were at the premises posing as guests. A former masseur, Lee Towsey, then aged 16 (that is, under the homosexual age of consent at the time), alleged he had sex with two undercover officers at the guest house.[37]

Operation Hedgerow

In March 2013, The Independent on Sunday reported that Colin Peters, a Foreign Office barrister, was a regular visitor to Elm Guest House, where he allegedly abused boys.[38]In 1989, Peters was jailed for being part of a network of paedophiles who abused over a hundred children. Peters’ conviction followed an investigation known as Operation Hedgerow, which recorded 650 offences against 150 boys. The Independent on Sunday described Peters as being “a key figure behind one of the UK’s most extensive paedophile rings”. He was jailed in 1989 for eight years for sexual offences, conspiracy to commit a sexual offence and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.[38]

The paedophile ring was reported as having lured young boys into prostitution. Reports at the time of Peters’ 1989 trial said the ring “was used by highly placed civil servants and well-known public figures”, but that the police did not have “the evidence or manpower to pursue them in court”.[38] Also in 1989, The Glasgow Herald reported that the paedophile ring resembled the Mafia in its organisation and strength and included “well-placed and influential professional people linked to Westminster and Whitehall”.[8]

Through this paedophile ring, Colin Peters allegedly abused boys at Elm Guest House, one of whom was Peter Hatton-Bornshim, a Grafton Close care-home resident; Hatton-Bornshin later killed himself. One alleged Elm Guest House victim said that he was also trafficked to an Amsterdam brothel where he was allegedly abused by a prominent politician.[38]

Operation Cayacos

A spin-off inquiry, Operation Cayacos, is an investigation into historical claims of child abuse by a paedophile ring linked to Peter Righton. The investigation is being conducted by the Metropolitan Police.[39]

2014 allegations

In April 2014, Simon Danczuk MP said he was convinced there had been a “network of paedophiles” operating in the House of Commons who helped to protect Liberal MP Cyril Smith. Claims were made that a 16-year-old boy had been abused by Smith at Elm Guest House.[40] Allegations had earlier been reported in The Independent that Smith had used rent boys under the age of 16 and in local authority care at Elm Guest House.[22] After it emerged that a dossier of claims made by former MP Geoffrey Dickens had apparently disappeared, Danczuk referred to the police investigation into events at the guest house when he called for former Home Secretary Leon Brittan to clarify what he knew about allegations made in the 1980s of paedophiles operating in Westminster.[41][42] It was reported by The Guardian that events at the guest house were at “the heart” of the “long-simmering sex scandal”.[16]

Retired child protection team manager Peter McKelvie, whose claims formed part of the Operation Fernbridge investigation, said in July 2014 that more than ten current and former politicians were on a list of alleged child abusers held by police investigating claims of a Westminster paedophile ring. Several, including Cyril Smith and Peter Morrison, were no longer alive, but other alleged abusers were reportedly still active in Parliament.[43] McKelvie believes there are sufficient grounds to arrest at least one senior politician.[44] McKelvie said that evidence of a powerful paedophile ring had been covered up in 1992. He told Labour MP Tom Watson that the police had discovered letters implicating powerful individuals in a paedophile network.[45]

Also in July 2014, The Daily Telegraph reported that a senior Conservative politician being investigated as part of Operation Fernbridge had allegedly been stopped by a customs officer with child pornography in the 1980s. A border guard, who is now retired, told detectives that when he searched the MP’s car he found videotapes of children “clearly under the age of 12” taking part in sex acts. He passed the material on to his superiors, but the MP was never arrested or charged over the alleged child pornography seizure because it was reported that police were understood to have insufficient evidence to take any action against the senior Conservative politician who was also accused of abusing a young boy at Elm Guest House.[43][46] A few days later, the same newspaper reported that a statement had been given by a child in 1982 alleging that he was abused at Elm Guest House by a senior political figure. It was reported that Operation Fernbridge detectives had closely examined the case of the eight-year-old alleged victim. Detectives also interviewed a retired police officer who had been involved in the original Elm Guest House investigation and who had interviewed the alleged victim at the time. The eight-year-old boy had reportedly been rescued from Elm Guest House after allegedly suffering what was described as a “horrific sexual assault” by the “leading political figure”.[47]

During this same period, in July 2014, there were also calls for the late Conservative MP Sir Nicholas Fairbairn, a former Solicitor General for Scotland, to be posthumously investigated after being linked to child abuse allegations at Elm Guest House. It was alleged that Fairbairn, who died in 1995 aged 61, was one of a number of politicians who visited the guest house in June 1982. Photographs were allegedly taken of Fairbairn—as well as Cyril Smith—at the guest house. Fairbairn was linked to alleged abuse of boys in a sauna at Elm Guest House.[6] In 2000, the daughter of a prominent Scottish lawyer had already alleged that Fairbairn, a former legal adviser to Margaret Thatcher, was part of a paedophile ring. Pete Wishart, an SNP MP, who represents Fairbairn’s former constituency of Perth, called for the allegations to be fully examined. He said: “If there is any evidence that Sir Nicholas Fairbairn was involved in the abuse of children, it should be looked at and properly investigated.”[6]

Barry Strevens, an ex-detective chief inspector for Cheshire police and former bodyguard to Margaret Thatcher, also claimed he warned her that another of her aides, Peter Morrison, allegedly held sex parties with under-age boys. Strevens said that, despite his passing on the allegations to Thatcher, she later promoted Morrison to the position of deputy chairman of the Conservative party.[48] Morrison died in 1995 aged 51 and has since been linked to alleged sex abuse at children’s homes in north Wales[48] and the alleged rape of a 14-year-old boy at Elm Guest House.[5] Three years after Morrison died, it was first reported in 1998 that he had been arrested for molesting underage boys during his career. He received a mere police caution and was never charged with any crime during his lifetime. In 2002, former Conservative minister Edwina Currie described Morrison as a “notable pederast”.[49]

Former cabinet minister Norman Tebbit said in July 2014 that there “may well have been” a political cover-up of child sex abuse in the 1980s. Tebbit, who served in various ministerial roles under Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s, said that the culture at the time was to protect “the establishment”. He said that it was seen as “more important to protect the system than to delve too far into claims”. Tebbit stated that he felt this view was “wrong”.[34] Former Labour health minister Lord Warner said that powerful people in the 1980s targeted children’s homes that served as a “supply line” for paedophiles. He described the sexual abuse of children as a “power drive”. Warner said that insufficient action was taken to deal with child abuse in the 1980s because there was “disbelief in the public mind”.[50]

In an interview with The Guardian in November 2014, Labour MP Tom Watson said: “There is no doubt in my mind that sexual abuse by powerful figures took place.” Watson said that he was aware of the name of the senior aide of a former Prime Minister who allegedly smuggled indecent images of children from abroad, but that it would be wrong for him to name the individual.[45] Watson said: “In one particular case of one person, there have been multiple allegations from unrelated people, some more credible than others, about severe cases of abuse. And in my mind I’m pretty certain that the person has broken the law and abused kids.”[45]

Two journalists—the former news editor of the Surrey Comet, Hilton Tims, and the former editor of the Bury Messenger, Don Hale—both stated in November 2014 that they had been served with D-notices, or warnings not to publish material that might damage national security, during the 1980s. Tims stated that the notice was issued directly after the newspaper began investigating rumours of activities at the guest house. Hale said that he was threatened with a D-notice after starting to investigate a file given to him by Barbara Castle, which contained details of a Home Office investigation into Geoffrey Dickens’ allegations of a paedophile ring. According to Hale, the threat of a D-notice was given by police who came into his office the day after he had received a visit from Cyril Smith, whom Hale described as “aggressive”.[51]

The Scottish Sunday Express published a claim in November 2014 that in 1985 a Scottish solicitor and former vice-chairman of the Scottish National Party, Willie MacRae, had evidence about paedophiles in the Scottish and English establishments. On 5 April 1985, MacRae’s car crashed on a remote stretch of the A87 road in Inverness-shire; he was shot in the head with a revolver and left to die. The evidence was supposedly in a briefcase in McRae’s car at the time but disappeared.[52] The gun was recovered some distance from the car, but there were no fingerprints. In 2006, a former policeman, Iain Fraser, who worked as a private investigator after leaving the police, said he was asked by a mystery client to spy on McRae three weeks before he died. Fraser added to calls for a public inquiry into the death. Repeated requests for an official inquiry into MacRae’s death have been turned down.[53]

In December 2014, an alleged “survivor of VIP abuse parties” said that he and other children were taken for weekend trips to Pimlico in the early 1980s. He said that he was abused growing up in care in north Wales and was taken to central London aged 11 or 12, where he was raped. He has been interviewed by police officers investigating the claims. The alleged victim said that children were plied with alcohol, taken into bedrooms and forced into sexual acts with various older men including MPs and government ministers. He said that other survivors have since died or in some cases have taken their own lives. The survivor of the alleged abuse said that he did not have faith in the Home Office or the Government to protect the victims.[54]

Labour MP John Mann gave Scotland Yard detectives evidence in December 2014 relating to 22 political figures suspected of involvement in Westminster paedophile rings, including three serving MPs and three members of the House of Lords. The list of those alleged to have been involved in child sex abuse included fourteen Conservative politicians, five Labour politicians and three from other parties. Thirteen former ministers were among the list, of whom at least two were alleged to have assaulted young boys at “abuse parties” held at the Dolphin Square apartment block in central London. Mann said that some of his sources were highly placed officials within institutions, and that he believed the complexity of child abuse networks at the heart of government in the 1970s and 1980s had been seriously underestimated.[55][56][57]

2015 allegations

In January 2015, an academic researcher found in The National Archives a reference to a file regarding allegations of “unnatural” sexual behaviour taking place at Westminster that probably went to the Prime Minister in the early 1980s. The file was entitled “Allegations against former public [missing word] of unnatural sexual proclivities; security aspects 1980 Oct 27 – 1981 Mar 20.” The file remains classified as it contained information from the security services and Law Officers. The Cabinet Office stated that any pertinent files would be made available to the forthcoming Independent Panel Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.[58]

After the former Home Secretary Leon Brittan died in January 2015, he was accused of “multiple child rape”. Labour MP Tom Watson said he had spoken to two people who claimed they were abused by Brittan, including a man who alleged he had been attacked more than a dozen times as a boy. The alleged victim also said he had seen Brittan assault others. Watson said that he—along with others, including media organisations—had known of the accusations but had decided not to speak out of fear of prejudicing any jury trial that Brittan might have one day faced. Watson said he believed the alleged victims he had spoken to were “sincere”.[59]

The Independent on Sunday reported allegations that Leon Brittan had abused a pre-pubescent boy at Elm Guest House in 1982. The boy had been taken to a safe venue by police after being abused by several people, one of whom was allegedly Brittan. In 1990, Chris Fay, a campaigner for the National Association of Young People in Care, claimed on oath that Brittan had been involved in abuse and that in March 1990 he had seen a photograph of Brittan in a French maid’s uniform, with a young boy. The picture had been shown to him by Carole Kasir, co-owner of the Elm Guest House, who died weeks later.[60]

Allegations were reported that Brittan had been photographed attending a male prostitution orgy in 1986. It was alleged that young boys were picked up at Kings Cross, London and dropped off at a north London building to be repeatedly raped, but the day before the planned arrests of Brittan and other high-profile figures including the Liberal MP Cyril Smith the 1986 investigation was disbanded without explanation.[61]

Meanwhile, in March 2015, BBC’s Newsnight reported that a 1981 undercover police operation which gathered evidence of child abuse by Cyril Smith and other public figures was scrapped shortly after Smith was arrested. A former police officer, who is familiar with the original investigation and its closure, told Newsnight that Smith was arrested during an investigation into alleged sex parties with teenage boys in south London. During the three-month inquiry in 1981, officers reportedly gathered a substantial amount of evidence of men abusing boys. The order to scrap the inquiry came from a senior officer after Smith and others had been arrested. Police officers were then ordered to hand over all their evidence—including notebooks and video footage—and were warned to keep quiet about the investigation or face prosecution under the Official Secrets Act. Labour MP Simon Danczuk said: “It is my view that Smith was being protected by some fairly powerful people. They ensured that he was never put before the courts.”[62]

Also in March 2015, it was reported by The Sunday Times that police were looking into new allegations of child abuse committed by the former Speaker of the House of Commons George Thomas and Labour MP Leo Abse. The new allegations have been passed to officers leading an investigation into an alleged “network of politicians”. Earlier in 2014, South Wales Police confirmed that officers were investigating allegations that Thomas abused a boy aged 9.[63]

During this same month The Independent also published a report saying Enoch Powell was one of the MPs whose activities had been investigated as part of Operation Fernbridge. Powell’s name had been passed to police by Paul Butler, the Bishop of Durham, after allegations of Powell’s involvement in abuse were made by one individual in the 1980s to the then Bishop of Monmouth, Dominic Walker.[33] Powell’s biographer, Simon Heffer, criticised the Church of England‘s actions in “putting this smear into the public domain”, while the church stated that it had simply responded to an inquiry from the press and confirmed that allegations about Powell, which related to an alleged satanic cult rather than any criminal activity, had been passed to the police.[64] David Aaronovitch of The Times wrote in April 2015 that the 1980s claims about Powell originated from fabricated claims invented by a conman, Derry Mainwaring Knight, whose false assertions had become known to the clergy, but had been unwittingly conveyed to the police in good faith. The police found no evidence to support the allegation against Powell.[65]

Later, in an edition of Panorama broadcast on 6 October, a former Elm Guest House prostitute was interviewed who claimed that he was unaware of any MPs visiting the brothel. Journalist John Oakes told them he had investigated Chris Fay’s claims, but had never been able to find any “solid” information nor trace of photos Fay said he had seen. Fay told Panorama that 17 or 18 children from Grafton Close had told him they had been trafficked to Elm Guest House; one of them, Mark, stated that he had been an abuse victim at Grafton Close but had never been to Elm Guest House nor spoken to Fay.[66]

Operation Midland and homicide allegations

In November 2014 the Metropolitan Police announced that they were establishing a related investigation, Operation Midland, intended to examine claims made in November 2014 about a possible homicide over 30 years earlier.[12] The police later stated that three alleged homicides were being investigated as part of the inquiry, and appealed for further information regarding activities at the Dolphin Square apartment block in Pimlico near the Houses of Parliament in the 1970s and 1980s. Events elsewhere in London and at military establishments were also under investigation.[13]


Operation Midland arose from claims by “Nick”, a man aged in his 40s who was a child at the time of the alleged incidents.[67] Having written of his abuse, Nick was contacted by Exaro, an investigative journalism website. Exaro sold stories to newspapers about the alleged incidents, and a reporter from Exaro accompanied “Nick” to meetings with police.[68]

Nick said his stepfather, a military figure, was the first to physically and sexually abuse him and that he was subsequently passed to other figures of authority during his childhood from 1975 to 1984. Nick specifically named 12 people in a group of powerful child abusers, including Harvey Proctor, the former home secretary Leon Brittan, the former prime minister Edward Heath, the former chief of defence staff Lord Bramall, the former director of the Secret Intelligence Service Maurice Oldfield, and Michael Hanley, the former Director-General of MI5.[68] Nick claimed that he was abused at a number of places including Dolphin Square, the Carlton Club, and various other places in the home counties. Nick also claimed that the group murdered three, two for sexual pleasure, and a third to intimidate the others. Proctor’s solicitors told him that Nick had alleged that he had seen Proctor repeatedly stab a 12 year old boy before strangling him to death; and that he had been raped by Proctor.[68]

The officer leading the investigation, Detective Superintendent Kenny McDonald, said in December 2014 that experienced officers had concluded that the allegations were “credible and true”.[69] McDonald was later criticised for the statement, and it was retracted. The very public nature of the investigation was modelled on the successful investigations of Operation Yewtree, but no further witnesses came forward.[68]

Proctor detailed Nick’s claims in public for the first time at a press conference, and also named his fellow accused. In September 2015 the Metropolitan Police said that they should never have said that Nick’s claims were true. Proctor and Bramall were subsequently interviewed under caution but never arrested, and nothing was found in any police searches to support Nick’s allegations. Bramall and Proctor both wanted Nick investigated for wasting police time. Brittan subsequently died during the inquiry without knowing that police had concluded that there was no credible case against him four months before his death. Police had raided Brittan’s home six weeks after his death and taken computers, hard drives and papers without telling his widow the reason.[68]

The Labour politician Tom Watson met Nick during the early stages of the investigation and subsequently claimed that Brittan was “close to evil”. Watson later apologised to Brittan’s widow for the comment. The Conservative politician Zac Goldsmith alleged in a parliamentary speech that Brittan was an abuser. The Guardian wrote in March 2016 that “Both politicans have been accused of abusing their positions to influence the police inquiries and cast aspersions upon alleged abusers”.[68]

In December 2014, the brother of a 15-year-old who went missing in the late 1970s claimed that the teenager was among the victims abused by members of the alleged historic Westminster paedophile ring. Kevin Allen told ITV News he was “convinced” there had been “a massive cover-up” in relation to the disappearance of his brother Martin Allen from London in 1979.[70]


An episode of the BBC investigation series Panorama, The VIP Paedophile Ring: What’s the Truth? interviewed “David” and examined his claims, and found that he had “told the Metropolitan Police he was worried that two well-known campaigners may have led him into making false claims”. He said that the names were “a joke suggestion to start with but that suggestion became reality” and that he subsequently felt “guilty” for naming people he had never met and that he believed that it was “…time that the truth came out. I believe it’s time that maybe the police could stop putting their efforts into things that probably aren’t even true.” In a statement issued before the broadcast of the programme the Metropolitan Police said that they were “…worried that this programme and other recent reporting will deter victims and witnesses from coming forward in future. Seeing an individual make allegations and then be targeted by the media is not going to encourage others to speak out”.[71][72]

Disappearance and murder of Vishal Mehrotra

Vishambar Mehrotra, the father of eight-year-old Vishal Mehrotra who disappeared in July 1981 said in November 2014 that he believed his son may have died at the hands of a paedophile ring involving high-profile individuals, and that he feared that the Metropolitan Police covered up links between his son’s death and activities at Elm Guest House. Mehrotra went missing in Putney, close to the Elm Guest House in Barnes. The upper half of his torso was subsequently found seven months later, buried in woodland in West Sussex.[71] In May 1983 the inquiry into Mehrotra’s death was wound up by the police.[73] Mehrotra’s murder was linked at the time by detectives to the activities of Sidney Cooke. Police investigated the paedophile ring involving Cooke in a major inquiry known as Operation Orchid, after they received intelligence that the ring could have abducted and killed up to 20 children. Mehrotra said he was contacted by a man a few months after his son’s disappearance who suggested the boy’s abduction might be connected to the activities of a group of “powerful, high-profile” paedophiles who frequented Elm Guest House. He said that he taped the phone call and passed it onto detectives investigating his son’s abduction, but the information was never followed up.[71] Mehrotra said that “It is clear to me that there has been a huge cover up. There is no doubt in my mind.”[73]

Police also investigated a possible link between former Conservative MP Peter Morrison and Mehrotra’s death after a 46-year-old man alleged that Morrison raped him in Elm Guest House when he was aged 14, and claimed that the police covered it up. The man said he was walking in the village of Harting in 1982 when Morrison gave him some money and later lured him to London. Mehrotra’s remains had been found a few months earlier less than two miles away from Harting.[5] In March 2015, it was reported that the Independent Police Complaints Commission would investigate allegations of negligence and corruption in relation to Mehrotra’s murder.[74] Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg subsequently said that allegations that the police helped “cover up” the death of Vishal Mehrotra at the hands of a paedophile ring were “grotesque” and called for an investigation to be launched into the claims, saying that “We are in the early stages of a reckoning with our past of things happening on a scale and of a gravity which just a few months ago would have seemed unimaginable and almost too horrific to contemplate. The task is to peel back the layers of deception that appear to have happened in the past.”[73][75] The chief executive of the child-abuse charity NAPAC, Peter Saunders, said that a full-scale investigation needed to be launched into the allegations. Saunders said: “It seems beyond doubt that dreadful things, including murder have been perpetrated and that much has been covered up.”[73]

End of investigation; apologies to Bramall and Proctor’s comments

In August 2015, it was reported by The Guardian that claims against former Prime Minister Edward Heath were being investigated as part of Operation Midland.[76]

In March 2015 Metropolitan Police officers searched the homes of Field Marshal Lord Bramall in Yorkshire and London and the home of former Conservative MP Harvey Proctor on the estate of Belvoir Castle, in Leicestershire, as part of Operation Midland.[77] In interviews with the BBC, Proctor denied being part of any “rent-boy ring” or attending sex parties with prominent figures.[78] Bramall also said that “categorically, never have I had a connection or anything to do with the matters being investigated. It is not in my character or my psyche.”[79]

In January 2016 the police confirmed that there was insufficient evidence to bring any charges against Bramall and that he would face no further action.[80] The Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Bernard Hogan-Howe later personally apologised to Bramall and said that “Although police knew from very early on they had no case to answer they couldn’t stop investigating because they didn’t want to be accused of not investigating it properly” and that the situation surrounding the inquiry arouse out of “…apparent mistakes back in 2012 relating to revelations of very serious and serial child abuse, a mixture of public outrage and propaganda” which “put immense pressure through the home secretary, on the police”. Bramall believed that a “witch-hunt culture [arose] in which child abuse, particularly historic child abuse, came to be dealt with entirely differently to other criminal offences”.[81]

Proctor was told he would face no further action in March 2016.[82] Proctor subsequently said that the investigations had “irreparably ruined my life” and that as a result of the allegations he had lost his house and his job. Proctor said “I do believe it is profoundly un-British and unfair. …I believe I have been pilloried and the Met Police service has enabled me to be wrongly depicted as a paedophile, child abuser, child murderer” and that these were the “worst things that can be said of a human being”. Proctor called on Hogan-Howe to resign and stated that Operation Midland “…has had a disastrous affect on genuine complaints of child sexual abuse, both present and historical. I think it has been incredibly counterproductive. …And when they established the truth – some time ago I think – they were too afraid of each other and the media to pull the plug.”[83]

Independent investigation into Metropolitan Police

It was announced on 16 March 2015 that the Independent Police Complaints Commission was investigating claims that the Metropolitan Police had suppressed evidence of child sexual abuse and prevented the investigation of some allegations between 1970 and 2005, because of the alleged involvement of police officers and MPs. The police referred themselves to the IPCC, which described the claims as being of “high-level corruption of the most serious nature”. The allegations included claims that an investigation into activities at the Dolphin Square flats had been halted; that no action had been taken in relation to a document from the Houses of Parliament that had linked prominent individuals to a paedophile ring; and that allegations of serious child sex abuse by a prominent politician had been covered up. The Metropolitan Police said in a statement that the allegations had emerged when officers were working on Operation Fairbank, and that they had “voluntarily referred the 16 separate allegations to the IPCC.”[15] The investigations headed by the IPCC have drawn in units from the MPS under the umbrella of Operation Winter Keys in order to support the ongoing and extensive IPCC led investigations. Evidential statements have been taken from complainants with others to follow.

See also


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