Sarah Champion, the South Yorkshire town’s MP, labelled the reports a “wasted opportunity”, while a young woman who as a child fell victim to multiple sex offences condemned the findings as a whitewash.
Six independent investigations were commissioned by the local authority, at a cost of £440,000, after the 2014 Jay report, which revealed that 1,400 girls from the town were targeted for abuse, including rape and sex trafficking, from 1997 to 2013.
The lead inquiry was asked to investigate the “performance and conduct” of senior employees in those years, to determine whether there were grounds for disciplinary proceedings against any present or former staff.
Its finding was that the council’s “shameful” response to child sexual exploitation was the product of “multiple and systemic failures” but was “not the responsibility or fault” of any one person.
Mark Greenburgh, from the law firm that conducted the inquiry, said that although some senior managers “let down the children, the council and themselves”, no one “deliberately turned a blind eye to child sexual exploitation in Rotherham”.
There was also, he said, no evidence of an orchestrated cover-up. It was “more cock-up than conspiracy”.
Ms Champion, a vocal campaigner for the victims of sexual exploitation, said that the reports failed to “draw a line under the catalogue of errors that led to our children being let down so badly by those supposed to protect them”.
She added: “Despite these huge failures, it appears that no individual at the council has been held to account. How is Rotherham meant to have confidence this will never happen again unless we know what went wrong?”
Ms Champion, who was until last month Labour’s shadow women and equalities secretary, was forced to resign after she wrote in an article for The Sun that Britain “has a problem with British Pakistani men raping and exploiting white girls”.
Yesterday’s inquiry reports noted that frontline staff attempting to raise concerns about groups of men targeting white teenagers for abuse faced “cultural barriers” due to “over-sensitivity and caution” within the council about “acknowledging the race and ethnicity of the perpetrators”.
Mr Greenburgh said that his investigation was hampered by the “disappointing” refusal of some former senior officers and Labour councillors “to engage with the process”.
Among those who declined to be interviewed were Roger Stone, former council leader, and Shaun Wright, cabinet member with responsibility for children’s services from 2005 to 2010. He resigned as South Yorkshire’s crime commissioner after the Jay report was published.
Chris Read, who became council leader after the scandal triggered the resignation of Rotherham’s Labour cabinet in early 2015, said that the inquiry’s failure to recommend disciplinary action against anyone was not “easy to swallow”.
Mr Reed said that those who refused to cooperate with the investigation, “including former Labour members” should be made to realise that “our survivors deserved far better”.
Ged Fitzgerald, the council’s chief executive from 2000 to 2003, also turned down an interview. The report said that had he taken “a more rigorous approach” when he became aware of sex-grooming concerns in 2001, “the response by the council might have been very different”.
Revealed: How fear of being seen as racist stopped social workers saving up to 1,400 children from sexual exploitation at the hands of Asian men in just ONE TOWN
- Report found 1,400 children abused between 1997 and 2013 in Rotherham
- The figure is likely to be a conservative estimate of the true scale
- Victims terrorised with guns and doused in petrol and threatened with fire
- More than a third of the cases were already know to agencies
- Author of the report condemned ‘blatant’ failings by council’s leadership
- Action blocked by political correctness as staff ‘feared appearing racist’
- Majority of victims described the perpetrators as ‘Asian’ men
- Leader of Rotherham Council has stepped down with immediate effect
- No council employees will receive disciplinary action, leaders state
- Victims were doused in petrol and threatened with being set alight, terrorised with guns, made to witness brutally-violent rapes and told they would be the next if they spoke out;
- They were raped by multiple perpetrators, trafficked to other towns and cities in the north of England, abducted, beaten and intimidated;
- One victim described gang rape as ‘a way of life’;
- Police ‘regarded many child victims with contempt’;
- Some fathers tried to rescue their children from abuse but were arrested themselves;
- The approximate figure of 1,400 abuse victims is likely to be a conservative estimate of the true scale of abuse.
NO COUNCIL EMPLOYEES WILL FACE DISCIPLINARY ACTION OVER ABUSE
HORRIFIC MURDER OF GIRL, 17, KILLED FOR ‘BRINGING SHAME’ ON TWO PAKISTANI FAMILIES WHOSE MEN HAD USED HER FOR SEX… AND SOCIAL WORKERS KNEW SHE WAS AT RISK FROM THE AGE OF 11
Laura, 17, had been groomed by a string of British Pakistanis before she was stabbed and thrown into a canal to die for informing her abusers’ families of the sexual relationships.
Her killer Ashtiaq Asghar, who was 18 at the time, was given a life sentence and will serve a minimum of 17-and-a-half years after he pleaded guilty to murdering Laura in October 2010.
In 2012, the council’s Safeguarding Children Board published a serious case review but key passages which reveal they knew she was at particular risk from ‘Asian men’ had been blocked out with black lines.
The council went to court in an attempt to tried to suppress the hidden information after a uncensored copy of the report was leaked to the Times newspaper but they abandoned legal action.
The uncensored report confirms that Laura, identified as Child S, had dealings with 15 agencies and identified ‘numerous missed opportunities’ to protect her.
It states that she eventually became ‘almost invisible’ to care professionals.
The hidden information included the knowledge that at the age of 13 Laura and a friend had been given alcohol by men at a takeaway who then asked what she would give them in return.
While the published report mentioned the fact that a friend, who Laura knew when she was 10, was ‘thought to have become involved in sexual exploitation’, it concealed the succeeding passage which read: ‘with particular reference to Asian men’.
On one ocassion married father-of-two Arshid Hussain was even caught with the half naked schoolgirl under his bed but documents revealed that police arrested her – and let him go.
Rotherham, South Yorkshire, has become known as Britain’s under-age sex capital, after a string of high profile cased where authorities have let down vulnerable children.
In another shocking case, reported in 2012, a 13-year-old girl told police how she had been groomed and raped by an Asian sex gang.
She wrote a harrowing letter to herself at the age of 14 addressed to her alter-ego Michelle, in which she wrote, ‘I feel like the Asians really hate me even when they say they love me’.
The girl, who told police in 2003 about the rape that took her virginity and the time five men queued outside a bedroom to demand sex from her, added, ‘They took all my dreams and my life away from me.’
‘I ABHOR THE LIFELONG DAMAGE THAT WAS WREAKED UPON THE LIVES OF ALL THOSE AFFECTED’: STATEMENT FROM ROTHERHAM COUNCIL LEADER ROGER STONE AS HE STEPS DOWN FOLLOWING DAMNING REPORT
Rotherham child sex victim, 15, doused in petrol and threatened with fire after she was trafficked to three different cities