Shame of grooming cover-up: Cynical councillors could be going to jail after report says they systematically hid truth
National Crime Agency is investigating after damning new report out today
Rotherham Council is still in denial over its role in scandal, author says
Last year it emerged 1,400 girls were exploited between 1997 and 2013
Figure is likely to be a conservative estimate of the true scale, report says
Victims terrorised with guns and doused in petrol and threatened with fire
Author of the report condemned ‘blatant’ failings by council’s leadership
‘Almost all’ of the abusers were found to be part of Pakistani sex gangs
Action blocked by political correctness as staff ‘feared appearing racist’
Council still handing out taxi licences without taking ‘sufficient steps’ to ensure drivers are ‘fit and proper’
Eric Pickles calls new elections and cabinet resigns to allow ‘fresh start’
By MARTIN ROBINSON and STEPH COCKROFT FOR MAILONLINE and JAMES TOZER and JAYA NARAIN and DANIEL MARTIN FOR THE DAILY MAIL
4 February 2015
A criminal investigation has been launched today after a damning new report found Rotherham Council is ‘not fit for purpose’ and still ‘in denial’ about the 1,400 young girls who were abused in the town over 16 years.
Investigators concluded girls as young as 11 were left to be abused by mainly Asian men between 1997 and 2013 because the council’s staff and politicians feared being labelled racist.
The council also had a ‘deep-rooted’ culture of sexism and bullying where it would ‘shoot the messenger’ and sought to force whistleblowers into silence or pay them off, it was said.
Inspectors also found the council ‘goes to some lengths to cover up information’ and said that children in the town were still at risk of abuse.
The report said South Yorkshire Police also failed in its role to protect victims, turning a blind eye to their plight and in many cases holding them responsible.
Police were said to be aware that a victim was ‘raped with a broken bottle’ and some girls were ‘ordered to kiss perpetrators’ feet at gun point’ but never took any action.
In one case an officer told a victim: ‘Don’t worry- you aren’t the first girl to be raped by XX and you won’t be the last’.
The council cabinet was forced to resign today after the shocking report laid bare their failings.
Now its disgraced former Labour leadership face the threat of serious criminal charges over claims in the report that evidence of abuse was deliberately obscured over a number of years.
Possible charges are understood to include misconduct in a public office and perverting the course of justice, both of which carry a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
The National Crime Agency has said it will examine a number of potentially criminal matters identified in the report.
Today Communities Secretary Eric Pickles announced new elections in 2016 to replace the council’s ‘wholly dysfunctional’ political leadership and so the town can have a ‘fresh start’.
* The devastating 160-page report by Louise Casey today revealed that:
* Reports of abuse were ignored by the council because it was ‘in denial’ about the crimes
* Staff and politicians failed to tackle abuse by Asian gangs ‘for fear of being seen as racist’
* Senior councillors bullied and suppressed staff who highlighted that the abusers were ‘predominantly’ Pakistani
* Whistleblowers were silenced with pay-offs or ‘bullied out of the organisation’ if they refused to stay silent
* Officers ignored warnings from a youth project in town about habitual abuse of children in the town and then shut it down
* There was a ‘a pervading culture of sexism, bullying and silencing debate’ at the council
* The council failed children and is still failing them and has ‘taken more care of its reputation than it has its of its most needy’
* Victims were denied support and justice as social services and police blamed each other for lack of action
* Even after the grooming scandal was exposed, a serving councillor told the new inquiry he believed the Asian men accused of grooming girls for sex had in reality been ‘fooled’ by girls aged 14 and 15 whose clothing and make-up made them ‘look more adult’
* One whistleblower branded the council a ‘machine’ which ‘simply exists to cover up and destroy’
Louise Casey, who is director-general for troubled families at the government’s Communities Department, was asked to investigate the council by Mr Pickles.
The minister told MPs this afternoon he will impose early elections in 2016 on Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council and proposes to send in commissioners to take over the responsibilities of the council’s cabinet in the wake of her report.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2939129/Two-local-councillors-corrupt-police-officer-accused-having-sex-victims-Rotherham-abuse-scandal.html#ixzz3QsR3uS5G