Pae­dophile ex-coun­cil chief was also trustee of child abuse char­ity

Yorkshire Post - - NEWS -

A PAE­DOPHILE who helped to run the chil­dren’s safety unit in one of York­shire’s big­gest cities was also a trustee of a con­tro­ver­sial char­ity that helps young vic­tims of abuse, it has emerged.

Heath­cliffe Bowen, who served three terms as chair­man of Ilk­ley Par­ish Coun­cil, was jailed for five years on Mon­day for pay­ing an un­der­age boy for sex and tak­ing part in ex­plicit on­line chats with other young­sters.

The judge at Brad­ford Crown Court branded him a “preda­tory pae­dophile” who “couldn’t help him­self ”.

Some of the of­fences were com­mit­ted while Bowen, 50, was em­ployed by Brad­ford Coun­cil as ad­min­is­tra­tor of the city’s Safe­guard­ing Chil­dren’s Board.

At the same time, he was a trustee of the Leeds-based char­ity York­shire MESMAC and a director of its trad­ing arm.

The char­ity was crit­i­cised last year over con­cerns that its rules ap­peared to al­low work­ers to sleep with their clients.

They were rewrit­ten fol­low­ing a com­plaint to the Safe­guard­ing Chil­dren Board in Leeds.

The char­ity’s chief ex­ec­u­tive, Tom Doyle, said Bowen had re­signed from its board of trustees be­fore any al­le­ga­tions came to light and was re­quired to re­sign as a director when it was learned he was un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

His for­mer man­agers at Brad­ford Coun­cil de­clined to say why they had sacked Bowen in 2014. A spokesman said: “We can­not dis­cuss de­tails of staff dis­ci­plinary matters.”

Asked if an in­quiry would now be held, the spokesman said: “Nat­u­rally, fol­low­ing Mr Bowen’s con­vic­tion we will re­view coun­cil pro­cesses in con­nec­tion with his em­ploy­ment. If lessons need to be learnt from the case, they will be.”

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