Hearing into Smith abuse claims to start next month
APUBLIC hearing into claims Cyril Smith sexually abused children in Rochdale will begin next month.
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse will investigate allegations the former Rochdale MP and others were involved in the sexual abuse of children at Knowl View residential school and Cambridge House boys hostel in the town.
Smith, who died in 2010, was a key player in setting up Cambridge House near Rochdale town centre in the 1960s, but has been accused of abusing boys there and at Knowl View in Bamford.
A preliminary hearing will be held on Wednesday (Sept 20), before the public hearing into the claims commences in earnest on October 9.
It is expected to run until October 27.
The IICSA website says the investigation will “consider the extent to which institutional failings may have allowed the sexual abuse and exploitation of vulnerable children at Cambridge House, Knowl View and elsewhere in Rochdale to take place”.
It adds: “In recent years, allegations have been made about the sexual abuse and exploitation of children at Cambridge House Boys’ Hostel and Knowl View School in Rochdale. Former Liberal Party MP, Cyril Smith, has been named as one of the alleged abusers.
“This investigation will examine these allegations [and] will consider the extent to which children with special needs, disabilities or other vulnerabilities may have been at greater risk of sexual abuse and whether their vulnerabilities impacted upon any failure to take action to protect them.”
In March GMP announced a £750,000 two-year police investigation, named Operation Clifton, found no evidence ●●The public hearing will look into claims that former MP Cyril Smith (inset) was involved in the sexual abuse of children at Knowl View residential school and Cambridge House boys hostel of a cover-up of abuse at Knowl View.
The inquiry, which was launched in July 2014 and concluded late last year, looked into how previous reports of abuse at Knowl View, which cared for boys from dysfunctional backgrounds, were handled or allegedly hushed up. A report has been written on Operation Clifton’s findings, but it will be incorporated into the IICSA.
GMP also launched an investigation into the alleged abuse at Knowl View and other children’s homes in 2012.
Only one person was charged but, after reviewing new police evidence, the CPS dropped the case.
The far-reaching IICSA probe is to scrutinise 13 institutions ranging from local authorities to the church and army for child protection failings, including abuse claims against prominent public figures.
Hearings are taking place at the International Dispute Resolution Centre in central London.
Professor Alexis Jay, the inquiry’s chairman, has said she plans to make recommendations in an interim report in 2018 and spoke of her determination to make ‘substantial progress’ by 2020.
But no final completion date has been given for what is the largest public inquiry ever established in the UK.
There have been suggestions it could last for up to a decade and cost tens of millions of pounds.