» 1,800 children victims of cruelty and sex assaults » Attackers were protected by sick cover-up culture
A CULTURE of “cover-ups” allowed children to be preyed on by perverts, an inquiry into one of Britain’s worst care home scandals found.
Council staff put vulnerable kids “in the path of paedophiles” as they did nothing. A total of 1,877 kids were victims. Worker Michael John Carroll got a job in one home after hiding a sex abuse conviction. A report into the abuse at Lambeth care homes in South London said: “They treated children in care as if they were worthless.”
CARE home children were put in the path of paedophiles by the very people who were meant to be caring for them, a damning report said.
Vile perverts were able to access youngsters with “devastating, lifelong consequences for their victims”.
And Labour council chiefs were so engulfed in a battle with Margaret Thatcher’s government they did nothing as children were sexually abused over a period of years in the 80s.
The inquiry into one of Britain’s worst care home scandals found a “culture of cover-up” allowed more than 700 youngsters to be attacked in homes run by Lambeth Council across South London.
Campaigner Raymond Stevenson, who represents more than 1,700 survivors, said: “The paedophiles did not take the lives of our friends, it was the cover-up that killed.
“So all of those that took part in the cover-up have blood on their hands and the cover-up between the Metropolitan Police and Lambeth council continues today.”
Raymond, a former resident at the Shirley Oaks home in Croydon, accused inquiry chairwoman Professor Alexis Jay of not highlighting failings at the Met. He added: “This is not justice. Police were determined not to uncover the truth and the inquiry continues with this.
“The inquiry avoided contentious issues where police were implicated.”
A total of 1,877 former Lambeth children’s homes residents have been abused, the council itself found.
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse said council chiefs treated children in care as if they were “worthless”. It added: “As a consequence, individuals who posed a risk to children were able to infiltrate homes.”
After complaints from 705 former residents, only one member of staff was disciplined.
The report described sex offenders as likely feeling “untouchable”. The inquiry examined five homes – Angell Road, South Vale, Shirley Oaks, Ivy House and Monkton Street. It found the council was mired in corruption and financial strife during the decades of abuse. The report added: “Children became pawns in a toxic power game between council and government.”
Prof jay said: “This all contributed to allowing children in their care to suffer the most horrendous sexual abuse, with just one senior council employee disciplined.”
Staff and councillors failed when it came to responding to allegations of misconduct.
One “particularly shocking example” was Michael John Carroll, who ran the Angell Road children’s home in Brixton during the 80s. He had failed to disclose a previous conviction for child sexual abuse.
But Carroll kept his job when this came to light.
He was convicted in 1999 of 34 counts of child sexual abuse, including of two boys in the care of Lambeth in the early 80s.
The report criticised police for failing to properly investigate sexual abuse during inquiries in 1992 and 2003.
Lambeth Council accepts that it failed children in its care. Leader Claire Holland said: “The council is deeply sorry.”
The true figure of victims is thought to be “significantly higher” than the 705 who have come forward, the report said.
Lambeth has paid £71.5m compensation so far and has arranged to borrow £125m to
cover the potential final cost. Former Met detective Clive Driscoll said: “I’m grateful the scale of the abuse is known. I hope we can learn from it.”
Six men have been convicted since the
90s in connection with abuse in Lambeth.
They include William Hook, who got 10 years, Philip Temple, 18 years and Les Paul, 13 years. The compensation scheme remains open until the end of the year. Anyone who thinks they might qualify can contact email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org @tpettifor