The Can of Worms Which is the North Wales Child Abuse Scandal
(reblogged from The Needle Blog)
Today, emboldened by public outrage, the Savile revelations, and Tom Watson MP’s question at PMQs, The Mail on Sunday carries the allegations that former MP and aide to Margaret Thatcher, Sir Peter Morrison, was implicated in the North Wales Paedophile cover-up.
A former Tory Minister last night made incendiary claims that one of Margaret Thatcher’s closest aides was implicated in one of the most harrowing child abuse scandals of recent times.Believe me when I tell you that this is a huge can of worms for the UK Government. So much so that Sir Ronald Waterhouse QC imposed an injunction on the press from telling the public the truth. That is the reason why the ‘second Tory grandee’ despite being named by Rod Richards has not been named by the Mail because there is a specific injunction against the press naming him, even though he is now dead and can’t sue for libel.
Rod Richards, a former Conservative MP and ex-leader of the Welsh Tories, made the shocking allegation that he had seen evidence linking Sir Peter Morrison to the North Wales children’s homes case, in which up to 650 children in 40 homes were sexually, physically and emotionally abused over 20 years.
Mr Richards also linked a second leading Tory grandee – now dead – to the scandals at homes including Bryn Estyn and Bryn Alyn Hall, both near Wrexham.
PUBLIC FIGURES NAMED IN PAEDOPHILE RINGGuadian, October 15th, 1997"Policemen, social workers and prominent public figures have been accused of belonging to a paedophile ring which indulged in a relentless campaign of physical and sexual abuse in children’s homes in North Wales.
The names of the alleged members of the ring have been given by witnesses in public sessions of the North Wales Child Abuse Tribunal, but they have been suppressed by the tribunal’s chairman, Sir Ronald Waterhouse QC, who has threatened the media with High Court proceedings if they print them.
The Guardian today publishes for the first time detailed evidence about the alleged ring, which is said to have been based in Wrexham, and to have infiltrated local children’s homes over a 20 year period.
Witnesses claim that members of the ring used their connections with police and social services to conceal their activities. All of the accused have denied the allegations.
Those named to the tribunal include: A man who bears the same surname as a prominent Conservative supporter. Two witnesses have told the tribunal of a rich and powerful man who belonged to the alleged ring.
The son of an influential peer who admitted to police that he had been having sex with an under-age boy from one of the homes. Despite his admission, he was never prosecuted.
A powerful public official who has previously been cleared of abuse. Six witnesses have given separate accounts to the tribunal of his alleged rape of young boys. Another has reported him attending parties in Wrexham which were supplied with boys from a children’s home.
Two social workers and two police officers, one of whom was accused of abuse on four separate occasions and exonerated each time, another of whom has since been jailed in another part of the country for gross indecency with a child.
More than a dozen other local men, including an executive with a local authority, a senior probation officer and a director of a major company.
All those named as members of the alleged ring have denied the charges, either in evidence to the tribunal or through their lawyers.
When the tribunal was established last year, it had been assumed that the press could report its proceedings, using the laws of privilege which allow them to name names from court cases and public hearings without fear of libel actions.
However, Sir Ronald then ruled that the media could not report the name of any living person who was accused or likely to be accused of abusing children in the North Wales homes unless they had previously been convicted of such an offence.
Since then he has extended his ruling twice: he has granted anonymity to one man who died 16 years ago and to another who has twice been convicted of sexually assaulting boys from a North Wales home.
Sir Ronald has argued that his ruling will encourage alleged paedophiles to come froward and give honest evidence without fear of retribution. Critics say this is unnecessary, since he has the power to compel witnesses to attend, and that those who have come forward have done so to deny the allegations and not to make a clean breast of their alleged offences.
One lawyer who has been involved with the tribunal said he feared that the anonymity ruling was actively discouraging witnesses. “Newspaper readers may well have information of potential value to this tribunal. They may themselves have been the victims of abuse, or they may have worked with the alleged abusers. But if the press is not allowed to inform them of the names of those against whom allegations are made, they will not learn that their information is important. So they will not come forward.”
The tribunal was ordered by the last Conservative Secretary of State for Wales, William Hague, after Clwyd county council decided not to publish the report of an independent inquiry into allegations of abuse in its children’s homes. The tribunal, which has been hearing witnesses for eight months, is expected to continue to take evidence until January."
But with the Foreign Secretary implicated by his role as the former Welsh Secretary, will the full horrible truth finally come out or will, as I suspect, the potential consequences be so incendiary that the cover-up will continue, albeit with one or two worms escaping from the can ?
What I can say is that there will be a number of prominent people, including at least one sitting MP, a peer of the realm, and members of the Bar and Judiciary implicated in the scandal and subsequent cover-up who will be extremely concerned at the turn the public mood has taken and the Government’s apparent inability to keep a lid on it all by keeping it contained to TV celebrities.
Understand that the press have known the names of those implicated since the Waterhouse cover-up. They have been muzzled and they don’t like it and now , perhaps, they see there is an opportunity to finally reveal the truth.
In the year following the Waterhouse report, 140 compensation claims were settled with victims of the abuse.
Remember, that Tom Watson MP has explicitly said that he was not alluding to Sir Peter Morrison when he spoke of an aide to a former Prime Minister implicated during the Peter Righton investigation. Source [that is an altogether different can of worms. Information on that can be found here.]
All of those implicated in the North Wales scandal happen to be Tories and so you may rightly ask why the Labour Party haven’t exposed those who were implicated……………or you might ask instead what the Tories have on Labour Party politicians because the only thing that has kept the lid on all of this is mutually assured destruction.
The modus operandi of the foot soldiers of establishment cover-up always blame and discredit the victims but right now the public have more sympathy and a greater understanding of how child abuse can go on and effect an individual in later life. Yes, after being abused from a young age some of these boys from care homes went on to become rent boys, took drugs, and have criminal records. This is hardly surprising considering they were buggered, abused, and passed around from pillar to post until they left the care home system and then dumped on the street, and yet the consequences of their abuse is then used to show that these are not ‘trusted’ witnesses.
I just hope that the public remain understanding and sympathetic to the victim’s position.