For every editor who reflects on his or her career, there will always be the frustrating memories of the “stories that got away”. For me, two of those concern the harrowing subject of paedophilia, and the haunting spectre of power, celebrity, VIP cover-up and our draconian libel laws. The two have since entered the lexicon of the UK’s shameful saga of child sex abuse, writes a former editor of the Sunday Mirror.
UK / CHILD ABUSE
Detectives have discovered that a Catholic priest and teacher who masqueraded as a child psychotherapist was a “prolific paedophile”.
An investigation by Scotland Yard into paedophilia at schools run by a Catholic order in Great Britain – the Salesians – has exposed the priest’s shocking activities. One expert, Graham Wilmer, dubbed him “the Salesians’ equivalent of Jimmy Savile”, the late BBC star and paedophile. More tomorrow.
Victims of child sex abuse who allege a paedophile network at Westminster are calling on Fiona Woolf to declare her links with Lord Brittan. Woolf was appointed to chair the overarching inquiry into child sex abuse. But abuse survivors are disturbed by Woolf’s links with Leon (now Lord) Brittan, who is embroiled by a storm over a missing dossier on VIP paedophiles.
Lord Mayor of London Fiona Woolf is preparing to make a statement to dismiss concerns about her chairing the overarching inquiry into child sex abuse. Woolf will “robustly” reject claims that her links with Lord Brittan make her position as head of the inquiry untenable, Whitehall sources say. She will issue a statement after returning to the UK from an overseas trip.
This year’s Conservative conference is set to be dogged by fresh allegations about how the party covered up for paedophile MPs. New claims about Sir Peter Morrison, the late MP who was Lady Thatcher’s parliamentary private secretary when she was prime minister, are due to be published at the end of this month to coincide with the Conservatives’ annual conference.
Home secretary Theresa May has taken a crucial step to ensure that the inquiry into child sex abuse can examine intelligence documents, Exaro can reveal. Fiona Woolf, who was appointed yesterday to chair the overarching inquiry, has security clearance to read such material, well-placed sources told Exaro. MPs who initiated the call for the inquiry see this as a crucial move.
Only one in 20 people who suffered child sex abuse will succeed in any attempt for compensation, according to leading lawyers in the field. Two solicitors who specialise in personal-injury cases say that a tiny proportion of people who suffered such childhood abuse and come forward to lawyers will succeed in winning compensation mainly because of time constraints on bringing civil claims.
Police have delayed seeking to press nearly 200 charges as part of their investigation into a paedophile network linked to politicians, Exaro can reveal. The move prompted one MP to say that the police were trying to avoid a “media frenzy” amid growing public concern about evidence of the scale of a paedophile network that operated at Westminster over many years.
Council chiefs in Rochdale are refusing compensation to a victim of child sex abuse because they say that his claim is out of time. Their stance could hit many who were sexually abused decades ago as children in the care of Rochdale borough council, where the paedophile MP Sir Cyril Smith was a dominant figure for many years.
Detectives are investigating alleged sexual abuse of boys at another school linked to late Liberal MP Sir Cyril Smith. Cumbria police are known to be investigating abuse of boys at Underley Hall special school, dating back to the 1970’s. But Exaro can reveal that Smith opened the residential school in 1976 and is understood to have stayed the night there regularly.
Church leaders have earmarked £2 million for counselling and other support for victims of child sex abuse by priests, Exaro can reveal. The move is part of a determined effort by Justin Welby, who became archbishop of Canterbury last year, to tackle what he sees as the Church of England’s paedophile problem. Anglican and Methodist leaders want the money to help paedophile priests’ victims.