Labour peer escapes probe over 20 child sex claims because he is ‘suffering dementia’
Alleged victims of the Labour peer were boys in care homes but the member of the House of Lords will not be arrested
The member of the House of Lords will not be interviewed or arrested by police investigating the alleged sexual assaults – which include claims of rape – on vulnerable boys in children’s homes.
One man said he was aged seven when the politician visited his care home and entertained him and the other youngsters there with magic tricks.
The suspect, who was the local MP at the time, then allegedly took him aside and sexually assaulted him.
His alleged victim claims he reported it to police but it was not properly investigated. He said: “That man humiliated me. He told me to undress and then fondled me. It scarred me for life. I complained previously and the police made a mess of it. But they are being very good now.”
Officers have compiled a dossier of more than 20 complaints against the peer, who was previously accused of child abuse more than two decades ago.
At the time, the serving MP agreed to be interviewed by police and a file was passed to the Director of Public Prosecutions, but no charges were ever brought.
Another police investigation into similar allegations is ongoing and a file has been sent to the Crown Prosecution Service.
Sources confirmed the peer would not be questioned after two doctors examined him and concluded he was unfit.
A police spokesman said the decision was taken for “operation reasons” and added: “The inquiry has had a number of individuals who have come forward and made complaints. We are investigating their allegations, and providing them with professional support.”
It comes after newly-released documents this week revealed disgraced paedophile MP Cyril Smith could have been prosecuted for a series of child sex crimes 12 years before he died aged 82 in 2010.
The Crown Prosecution Service however decided against pressing charges because Lib Dem Smith had been told previously that no further action would be taken.
Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk wrote a book about Smith’s abuse. He said of the latest claims: “This sounds similar to the Cyril Smith case in that there have been missed opportunities to prosecute.
“From what I’ve been told, the detail of this case is extremely distressing and that’s why it’s so important that justice catches up with powerful politicians before it’s too late. There are some politicians who want to slow down inquiries into abuse when actually we need to speed them up.
“There is a race against time, as some of these perpetrators are quite elderly and could pass away before justice is done.”
Yesterday, an ex-police officer said he had found evidence more than two decades ago of a child abuse network involving public officials and clergy.
Terry Shutt, a former detective constable with the West Mercia force, recalled five suitcases of letters he found in a 1992 raid on the home of paedophile Peter Righton in Evesham, Worcs.
Mr Shutt said: “Among the documentation there was a definite link to establishment figures, including senior members of the clergy.” He accused Scotland Yard of failing to follow up many important leads and said: “For me there was a definite feel that this was bigger than we were looking at locally and it should have been investigated further.”
Social work expert Righton helped found the Paedophile Information Exchange – known as PIE –which campaigned to decriminalise sex with children. He died in 2007.
Last night ex-civil servant Tim Hulbert insisted the vile PIE group was handed taxpayers’ cash by the Home Office, despite an official review finding there was no direct funding. He said he was told the public money was awarded on the orders of Special Branch.
Mr Hulbert worked in the Voluntary Services Unit 35 years ago and said he saw paperwork about a request to renew a grant to PIE. He told ITV: “I have a clear recollection of being sufficiently aware of it to go to my then boss, head of the unit Clifford Hindley, and say ‘what the hell are we doing funding an organisation like PIE?’.
“He told me it was a renewal. He told me it was being funded at the request of Special Branch.” Mr Hulbert suggested the paper trail was among the 114 missing abuse files the Home Office said had probably been destroyed. Earlier this week the department published a report stating there was no evidence it gave direct funding to PIE, although it did give money to two organisations linked to it.
The Home Office last night stood by the probe but said the fresh claims would be covered by a new review.
A spokesman said the inquiry would “consider whether public bodies and other institutions have taken seriously their duty of care to protect children from sexual abuse”.