One of the most disturbing of the many sordid facts emerging in this tale of a 30 year child sex abuse scandal is the role of Richmond Council.
It is their kids in care who were allegedly procured from their homes – mainly the now closed Grafton Close home – and taken to Elm Guest House – and then sexually abused by prominent people including ministers, and MPs.
Two graphic accounts appeared over the weekend in the Daily Mail ( http://bit.ly/XE6iCj) and the Sunday People( http://bit.ly/XE6OAf ) from victims about what happened there in the 1980s..
The Exaro News investigation – now involving the editor, Mark Watts, five reporters David Pallister, Nick Fielding, Fiona O’Cleirigh, Alex Varley-Winter and me – has produced a fresh spate of articles, including one on Grafton Close children’s home today See http://bit.ly/WLo45E ,http://bit.ly/Xiw9Om, and http://bit.ly/Y4XFzI ) for the full stories.
These reveal that Elm House was also on the then Spartacus club network where men attracted to boys could get a discount for staying there. Coming on top of the ” strongly recommended ” rating on the Conservative Group for Homosexual Reform – this again points to the place being used not just for homosexual sex between consenting adults but also with young boys.
They also reveal that the two managers of Grafton Close,both employees of Richmond Council, were named as part of the paedophile ring at a coroner’s court hearing into the death of Carole Kasir, who co-managed Elm House, in the 1990s.
What is interesting in both reports is the fact that Richmond Council faced civil proceedings from one of the boys and paid out a ” considerable sum ” of money to him to go away. Why I say fact rather than allegation is that I understand the papers obtained by the police criminal investigation Operation Fernbridge also refer to civil proceedings and a payment.
A statement from Richmond Council said: “Richmond Council considers the safeguarding of all children and young people as an utmost priority and we take any allegations of abuse very seriously.
“As such, we are offering our full support and co-operation to the police during their investigation. As the investigation is ongoing, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”
What I find inexplicable and disturbing is that if this is true -rather than report this to the police in the aftermath of the Elm House scandal- the council secretly paid out taxpayers money to an alleged child abuser victim. I am sure the home owners and tenants of the London borough would be sick to think their money was spent on what was essentially a sex abuse cover up.
This disclosure also calls into question the extraordinary complacent statement from Sir David Williams, former Liberal Democrat leader of the council:
“It is all specious rumour as far as I am concerned until someone gives me some hard facts. It is idle speculation as far as I am aware.
If it did involve children I didn’t know. I doubt if it did. I doubt if there is much in this at all.”
Really, Sir David. You were leader of the council for 18 years and you know nothing about this.