Ex-detective’s anger over ‘slap on wrist’
AFORMER detective turned whistleblower has told of her outrage that all but two of Rochdale’s sex grooming gang have been freed less then five years into their jail sentences.
It has been revealed seven of the gang of nine have now been released, some on licence and others having completed sentences imposed in 2012.
Maggie Oliver insisted the seven who have been released should have been charged with rape - rather sexual activity with a child or trafficking offences - which attracts a longer sentence. She worked on the operation but later resigned in disgust at the way victims were treated.
The former officer, who was the consultant for BBC’s Three Girls which dramatised the abuse and how the victims were let down by the authorities, revealed her anger in a live Q&A with Guardian readers on Facebook.
Maggie said: “For me it’s outrageous that men guilty of abusing generations of children over many years have had a slap on the wrist and they are out now carrying on their daily lives as though nothing has happened. The children that they abused will never get over what’s happened.”
She said she was still in touch with the victims who were ‘proud’ to have helped in making the drama but remained ‘disturbed’ by what happened to them.
Maggie said: “They all feel proud that they are part of such a public message in exposing neglect within the system and the failures of the protective services.
“They are very proud but they are still very disturbed by what happened to them.
“I don’t think they will ever recover.
“To be sexually abused as a child is one thing and you would never really recover from that but in many ways far worse is for those agencies that are meant to protect you to turn around and fail you knowingly. That is far worse. And the damage that the causes is possibly something they will never get over.”
Her friends have now launched a petition to change the law to make senior police officers accountable. She said she wanted police bosses to be ‘personally liable’ for their decisions.
Maggie said she had been heartened by the public reaction to Three Girls and her continuing campaign.
She said: “My faith in people has been restored. This has restored my faith in the decency of ordinary people. But why is it that ordinary people are so outraged by what happened? Those very people who were in positions to make sure this doesn’t happen failed to see that and allowed it continue over I don’t know how many years.”
To see the petition website go to:
Former Detective Maggie Oliver