spotlight on abuse: the past on trial
Butler-Sloss presided over a cover up which the system decided was necessitated by the social and political pressures for containment. This was to the great detriment of the children who had actually been abused at that time, to the detriment of children in that position ever since, and to the professionals trying to bring this to light. This was a betrayal because initially we trusted that the Inquiry would be powerful and would want to uncover the truth.
She has never to our knowledge made any public connection between the silencing of professionals by the Inquiry, and what happened to Child Protection in the UK as a direct result of the Cleveland Inquiry. Therefore, we have no confidence in her capacity to bring a neutral stance to this present problem. Despite her demonstrated understanding during the inquiry that many of the children in Cleveland had in fact been abused, she let the system return them home to the likelihood of further abuse. This in our mind was wrong and immoral. There was no excuse, even the one she gave, which was that it was not her remit to decide whether abuse had taken place because the high court was doing that job.
After Cleveland, professionals lost their mandate to intervene to protect children and this legacy has continued to this day. As professionals who were among the first to expose the extent of child sexual abuse we experienced at first hand how a public inquiry is used to allay public disquiet and divert attention from the truth about sexual crime against children. We cannot let this happen again.
Heather Bacon. Former Consultant Psychologist, North Tees Health Authority. Witness to the Cleveland Inquiry
Sue Richardson. Former Child Abuse Consultant, Cleveland Social Services Department. Witness to the Cleveland Inquiry
Authors of Child Sexual Abuse. Whose Problem? Reflections from Cleveland. 1991
What on earth is Lord Elizabeth thinking of? Apart from the idiosyncrasy of calling herself Lord, it is obvious, she should withdraw because her brother is alleged to have closed down an investigation into a senior official. That is not her fault. But it compromises her and it seems intransigent not to know that.
There is another reason that Butler Sloss is not acceptable: she led the judicial inquiry in 1987 into the alleged abuse of 121 children in Cleveland that did not ask or answer the question on everyone’s lips – were the children abused?
Though she acknowledged that the doctors who had diagnosed severe anal abuse were not always wrong, and that the medical findings were not doubted, she then and thereafter contributed to the vilification of professionals trying to do their job in the face of the evidence and of ‘destructive’ police resistance to it.
Worse, her report contributed to the myth that children were the victims not of sexual abuse but of crazed doctors and social workers.
The only American expert she heard was accused adults’ advocate Ralph Uunderwager – later discredited for proposing that paedophilia could be seen as ‘god’s will.’
Her report also contributed to a regime that gave children one chance, and once only, to tell their story, in less than an hour, in a video interview with complete strangers.
Children’s evidence was not liberated, it was controlled and constrained – and closed down.
Her report was published in 1988. Before the year was out, the report of an eminent group of experts, ‘Action Taken Following the Report of the Judicial Inquiry into Child Abuse in Cleveland’ was sent by the Northern Region Health Authority to the Department of Health. It detonated the myth: after ‘extremely thorough and in-depth assessments of the children and families’ these experts concluded that 70-75 per cent of the diagnoses were correct. This ‘would clearly be contrary to general public understanding of the accuracy of the diagnoses.’
The Department of Health has never acknowledged this report nor relieved the public of its misconceptions. Nor has Butler-Sloss. That is why whistleblowers and abuse survivors wont want to talk to her.
Bea Campbell, award winning journalist.
Beatrix Campbell’s book, Unofficial Secrets, is an investigation into the Cleveland child abuse crisis.
Those of us who were in the care system and suffered the abusers have for decades seen our allegations face a brick wall of silence from such charities and organised suppression by lawyers acting on their behalf. In my childhood memoir, The Golly in the Cupboard , I chronicled some of the terrible abuse of young children that took place at our Barnardos home in Southport, Lancashire. I also related attempts of Barnardos to silence us children, to cover up the issue and their failure to pursue prosecution of the perpetrators following the intervention of the police.
Barnardos and many in NSPCC and other charities welcomed the book. However these charities, such as NSPCC, Barnardos, the Children’s Society and the Salvation Army, which previously cared for thousands of young people in children’s homes and refuges, remain quiet on the issue of not only their failure to act regarding abuse of children in their care, they have also yet to disclose who amongst their management were responsible for the cover ups.
Barnardo’s, which the courts demonstrated failed to disclose on horrendous abuse of children in its care in Northern Ireland has been given a key role in Parliamentary investigations and now, yet another potentially compromised charity, NSPCC, is put in charge of a historic child abuse investigation.
Justice demands that these charities that faced allegations of abuse should be forced to come forward and submit to police investigations into how those allegations were covered up and by whom. In response to the Savile outcry, David Cameron tried to smear the public outrage as a “witchunt against gays” Now this appointment of the NSPCC smells of being one more step of damage limitation i.e. a cover up to prevent the ”whole truth and nothing but the truth” from coming out.
That the government is struggling to find any institution responsible for children, government or law enforcement that is not tainted with cover ups of child abuse, is exactly the reason why a full and open independent public enquiry should be established immediately to root out the abusers and excusers that were and remain a menace to our children.
Former Barnardo Boy
Founder of The Care Leavers Association (2000)
Although none of this implicates Havers’ sister, Baroness Butler-Sloss,in any way, it seems at the very least deeply inappropriate to have someone heading a ‘historic’ child abuse inquiry whose own brother played such a major role in the protection of Establishment paedophiles throughout the 1980s.
1981: Sir Peter Hayman
In 1981, Sir Michael Havers warned Geoffrey Dickens not to name senior diplomat Sir Peter Hayman as a paedophile in the House of Commons. Dickens ignored his advice, and was publicly condemned by Havers, who said “All Mr Dickens has done is make certain that Sir Peter’s shame and embarassment is known to the world. There cannot be any justification whatsoever for what has happened. How can the public have gained by this? How can it be in the public interest to name this man?“.
Sir Michael Havers defended the decision not to prosecute Hayman despite possessing a huge collection of images of child abuse including – as Barry Dickens revealed earlier this week – babies being abused in their prams. Dickens accued Sir Michael of taking part in a “whitewash and “the cover-up of the century”.
1982: Elm Guest House
The Elm Guest House scandal involved powerful Establishment figures sexually abusing young boys at a guest house in Barnes. The story hit the headlines in August 1982 and ran for just 10 days, but then the coverage stopped suddenly and it wouldn’t be mentioned again in a British newspaper for many years. The reason for this news blackout seems to have been threats of legal action. Sir Michael Havers “personally investigated” complaints against newspapers from lawyers representing Elm Guest House.
1983: Geoffrey Prime
Geoffrey Prime was a former Cheltenham GCHQ worker who was also spying for the Russians, and ended up being jailed for 38 years. He had also been charged with sex offences against two young girls, and during the raid on his home police discovered Paedophile Information Exchange literature that would only have been available to members of the organisation. The Sun reported this, and said that Sir Michael Havers had held back from mentioning Prime’s PIE membership during his trial “to avoid embarassing security chiefs”. Sir Michael complained to the Press Council, but The Sun stood by their story and refused to reveal their source. Geoffrey Dickens had raised The Sun’s allegation in Parliament and forced Mrs Thatcher to make a strong denial.
Sir Peter Hayman named as PIE member in the House of Commons
Elm Guest House: The History of a Cover-Up
Geoffrey Prime, GCHQ, and the Paedophile Information Exchange
But there is still a mystery surrounding the trial of two paedophiles in Hayman’s network.
The sequence of events that led to Hayman being named began in 1978 when a packet was found in a London bus containing correspondence – “obscene literature and written material” – between Hayman and a number of other people. As a result of this find, seven men and two women were named by the Metroplitan Police as possible defendants in a report submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions, but he advised against prosecuting any of them.
“Subsequently, the Metropolitan Police submitted a further report which revealed that one of the nine, not Sir Peter Hayman, was carrying on a correspondence with a tenth person. The police investigation showed that the two shared an obsession about the systematic killing by sexual torture of young people and children. In view of the extreme nature of the material they had sent each other, the Director of Public Prosecutions decided to prosecute them for conspiring to convene Section 11 of the Post Office Act”. Source: The Guardian 20.03.81
The trial of the two people took place at St Albans Crown Court in 1979-80. They were both found guilty but walked free with a conditional discharge. The weak sentence in itself is very worrying, but even more worrying is the fact that the trial doesn’t seem to have been reported at the time despite the shocking nature of the case. I have searched the Guardian and the Times archives, along with most tabloids from the time and can’t find any reports. The two reports from 1981 that referred to the trial didn’t name the individuals and didn’t even say whether they were male or female.
Many PIE members were thought to have worked in education, residential care, and other professions that would bring them into contact with children. These people could have walked free and straight into a job working with children, with the public none the wiser as to their conviction.
The Times voiced their concern about the case after Hayman was named in Parliament:
“The wider question for disquiet is what happened to the two individuals mentioned in Sir Michael’s statement who shared an obsession about the systematic killing by sexual torture of young people and children. They were prosecuted at St Albans – and conditionally discharged. Such execution of the law singularly fails to match the sense of public outrage.” Source: The Times 20.03.81
Geoffrey Dickens was still talking about it in August 1983, when he said that “the Attorney General had conceded that within the PIE organisation there were people obsessed by the death of children by sexual torture”. Source The Sun 23.03.83
Who were the two individuals, and why were they never named in the press?
“Geoffrey Dickens revealed that eight public figures were on his list of shame – and that one of them had been a personal friend. But Mr Dickens said he still planned to name the eight in the Commons unless the Home Secretary took action.
He said: “I’ve got eight names of big people, really important names, public figures. And I am going to expose them in Parliament. I have not enjoyed this crusade. It’s been horrible many times. One of those people among those eight has been a friend of mine.”
Mr Dickens’s own list of eight public figures involved in the sex scandal was handed to the Director earlier this week…together with the warning that he would name them in Parliament if necessary.
Two years ago, Mr Dickens defied leading figures in the Tory party by publicly exposing former diplomat and NATO adviser Sir Peter Hayman.
Hayman had not been named in a court case involving members of the Paedophile Information Exchange, but Mr Dickens decided it would be wrong to let him get away with it. It was case of ‘speak out or be damned’ and he spoke out.
Hayman resigned. Dickens, who initially came under attack from many of his colleagues in the Commons, received 8,000 letters from people who had tales to tell of others like Hayman.
Mr Dickens, 52, told as he relaxed wth a cup of tea how his wife, Norma, helped him sort out the letters.
He said: “We ruled out anyone who only had one or two accusations against him. The others we sifted until we were down to a couple of dozen on whom there appeared to be considerable evidence that they were unhealthy perverts. The security aspect concerned me greatly because of the names of several of the people who turned up in the files. I realised we were involved in a crusade – a crusade that has to be carried through to a proper conclusion”.
He used House of Commons researchers and enlisted local reporters, librarians and friends to help go through records, check files, even empty dustbins of some of the suspects. In the end there were just those eight men on the list of shame. Discussions with Scotland Yard followed.
“I suspect that their list is much bigger and I hope that this time there will be not attempt to head off charges as happened in the Sir Peter Hayman case.”
He urged: “The Home Secretary must act. The will of the country demands that action should be taken and penalties made more severe so that perverts who involve children in their practices should be jailed.””
Source: Daily Express, 25th August 1983
DICKENS DOSSIER #2, 23rd November 1983
“Mr Leon Brittan, the Home Secretary, was asked yesterday to investigate an MP’s file of cases involving paedophilia in Buckingham Palace and the diplomatic and civil services.”
“A homosexual link between Buckingham Palace and the sex with children group PIE was claimed yesterday in a massive dossier of evidence by Tory MP Geoffrey Dickens.”
Source: The Times, 24th November 1983, Daily Express, 25th November 1983
DICKENS DOSSIER #3, 18th January 1984
Tory MP Geoffrey Dickens yesterday handed the Home Secretary a “sensational” 50-page dossier on the activities of the Paedophile Information Exchange. The file includes allegations of child abuse and sex assaults at a children’s home. Mr Dickens said last night that he had also named a top television executive.
Source: Daily Mirror, 19th January 1984, Huddersfield Daily Examiner, 19th January 1984, Daily Express, 20th January 1984
SCOTLAND YARD FILE #1, 23rd August 1983 (approx, delivered to Leon Brittan the same week as Dickens Dossier #1 was delivered to DPP)
Two separate reports on the Paedophile Information Exchange…have been prepared for ministers after Scotland Yard’s third investigation into the organisation. The first report, prepared by the Yard and sent to Mr Leon Brittan, will be used by the Home Secretary when he returns from holiday next week and has to decide whether the organisation needs to be banned.
Source: The Guardian, 25th August 1983, The Telegraph, 25th August 1983,
SCOTLAND YARD FILE #2, 25th August 1983 (delivered to DPP same week as Dickens Dossier #1)
The Director of Public Prosecutions, Sir Thomas Hetherington, – today takes delivery of a file on paedophilia – the distasteful fruit of two years’ work by Scotland Yard’s Obscene Publications Squad. The squad’s thick file, containing the names of the famous, the wealthy, and hundreds of anonymous citizens, was sent from the Yard yesterday.
“Because it has technically left our hands, we can say nothing about the file’s contents as the matter is effectively sub judice”, a Scotland Yard spokesman said last night. “It is now up to the Director to decide what action should be taken. It is purely coincidental that the report has been concluded at the time investigations are under way.”
Source: Daily Express, 25th August 1983, Daily Mail, 25th August 1983
See also: Lord Falkland sexually abused 40 girls. His punishment? A six month suspended sentence