London (by Rosita Pirulli and Philip Olland)
Child sexual abuse is affecting Westminster, the heart of London.
After silent and covered-up years, numerous corroborations are coming to the surface.
Among several investigations, the most detailed ones were carried out in 2015, after Jimmy Savile’s scandal. In the same year, Metropolitan police disclosed charges against 76 politicians who had abused kids in the past.
Today, their best-known names, mentioned by the English press, are:
Ewan Graville Janner, Lord Janner di Brounstone – (11/07/1928 – 19/12/2015) MP for Leicester, barrister and author. In 1991, he received the first charges related to the sexual abuse towards Paul Winston. Lord Janner denied the evidence declaring he had helped him in one situation. The support received by the alleged victim and his party prevented him from being jailed.
Other evidence has emerged recently, bringing to light 22 sexual assaults happened during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. Lord Janner was brought to court last year, but he showed first signs of dementia: “Oh, it’s wonderful,” he answered to the court, instead of declaring his identity. Consequently, Alison Saunders, Public Prosecutions Director, declared him immune from the hearing, as he was diagnosed with advanced dementia.
Cyril Smith – (28/06/1928 – 3/09/2010) liberal democratic MP for Rochdale. His first charges date back to 1970s when he abused eight kids in Cambridge House hostel in Rochdale and then in Knol View School. The Public Prosecutions Director declared the facts were unfounded. After that, he has taken part in some sex parties in a Coronation Building flat and subsequently into another one in South London. The evidence of the facts – videos and pictures – were scrapped: officers ordered the police to cover the evidence, otherwise they would have been prosecuted under the Official Secrets Acts law. Even though Smith was arrested, he did not face any prosecution declaring him guilty of child sexual abuse. In 2012 – when he had already died – the police were considering to take solid measures against him.
According to the English media, politicians kept in touch with their victims for years. As one of them, ‘Nick’ (his pseudonym), claimed: “They were very powerful people and they controlled my life for the next nine years. They created fear that penetrated every part of me, day in, day out. You didn’t question what they wanted, you did as they asked without question and the punishments were very severe.”
The most common place used to practice sexual abuse was Dolphin Square – luxury flats building near Westminster. Nick testified it saying that his experience had taken place there with other children, who were often killed. He witnessed a murder made by an MP during a sex party in 1980s. According to Nick, the murderer was Harvey Proctor, who also organised another murder, in which victim was killed by a car.
Operation Midland is the name of the inquiry conducted by the Met Police to gain further information about this issue. After several charges and investigations against Proctor, Bernard Hogan-Howe, head of London’s Metropolitan Police announced the serious failings brought to light during their work. Therefore, he apologised to Proctor, who accepted the apology but declared his decision to take penal measures against the Met Police because of the serious issues – losses of job and home – caused by it.
Also some authorities made mistakes in the past. Cliver Discroll, former head of Metropolitan Police, told that the reason for covering the evidence was that this matter had been “uncomfortable for a lot of people”.
Will the same situation have happened in the Operation Midland? The English press reveals that the reason results from:
-Searching premises, a serious mistake of judgement;
-Not having psychologist to assess Nick;
-Relying only on Nick’s counsel, without checking her qualification and experience. In fact, Nick is now under investigation.
However, the Operation Midland’s failings do not exclude the total existence of sex parties organised by the members of the House of Parliament. IICSA (Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse) is paying attention to the case in particular. The inquiry, founded by Theresa May in 2014 and now chaired by Alexis Jay, aimed to find out whether the statal and non-statal institutions of England and Wales have taken serious responsibilities to protect children or not.
The current inquiries cover 13 areas, among which Lord Janner, Roman Catholic Church, Anglican Church, Westminster, Residential schools, Internet. Furthermore, the inquiry welcomes public declarations of victims and survivors, in order to facilitate and improve the researches.
The aims are now more targeted: Alexis Jays has announced she will end the whole investigation by 2020.
Programmes regarding Westminster are already provided for 2017: Alexis Jay has claimed to have documents regarding the investigations about prominent people and Cyril Smith will be the protagonist of next year. The full project is on their website with further details on the other aspects mentioned above.
If this inquiry is useful for a social improvement, we will say it within a few years. In the meantime, journalists and other authorities are going to investigate the facts further, hoping not to be hampered by the law.
Official Secret Acts (1989): It makes offence the publication of information – crime, international relations, foreign confidence, security services activities – that leads prominent people such as: former and actual MPs, members of security services or police. The punishment provided is imprisonment for two years.
Siddique, H. (2016) “Operation Midland: Complainant ‘Nick’ for attempting to pervert course of justice – as it happened”, The Guardian, 8th November. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/live/2016/nov/08/operation-midland-report-into-mets-sex-abuse-inquiry-published-live-updates?page=with:block-5821d972e4b0d073c27d2981 (Accessed data: 18-12-2016)
Booth, R. (2015) “Westminster child sex abuse claims: missing pieces remain in inquiry jigsaw”, The Guardian, 16th March. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/mar/16/westminster-paedophile-ring-innuendo-evidence (Accessed data: 18-12-2016)
Hopkins, N. and Morris, J. (2015) “Cyril Smith child abuse inquiry ‘scrapped after his arrest’, BBC News, 17th March. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-31908431 (Accessed data: 18-12-2016)