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Care home children let down by police and the state, Janner abuse inquiry finds

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Children who reported being sexually abused by the late Labour grandee lord Greville Janner were “let down by institutional failings”, a damning inquiry into police, prosecution and social services responses to their allegations has concluded.

Failure to protect children

Leicestershire Police officers investigating decades of abuse claims against Janner regularly “did not look beyond the often troubled backgrounds” of the alleged victims, who said they were abused in children’s homes in the county between the early 1960s and the late 1980s. The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) accused detective superintendent Christopher Thomas, who led Operation Dauntless, the third police investigation into Janner, of being “uninterested” in the allegations, while colleagues were “quick to dismiss” some testimonies.

Janner, a Labour MP from 1970 until 1997 when he was made a peer in the House of Lords, was charged with 22 counts of child sexual abuse offences relating to nine different boys in 2015. He died with dementia later that year while awaiting trial and always denied the allegations.

Lord Janner leaves Westminster Magistrates’ Court in 2015 (Anthony Devlin/PA)

Professor Alexis Jay, who is chairing the wide-ranging abuse inquiry, said:

Despite numerous serious allegations against the late Lord Janner, police and prosecutors appeared reluctant to fully investigate the claims against him. On multiple occasions police put too little emphasis on looking for supporting evidence and shut down investigations without pursuing all outstanding inquiries.

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She also said Leicestershire County Council had a “sorry record of failures” relating to abuse at children’s homes dating back to the 1960s. The report described the decision-making of both Thomas and Roger Rock, reviewing lawyer for the Crown Prosecution Service, as “unsound and strategically flawed”. Jay added:

This investigation has brought up themes we are now extremely familiar with (across the whole inquiry), such as deference to powerful individuals, the barriers to reporting faced by children and the need for institutions to have clear policies and procedures setting out how to respond to allegations of child sexual abuse, regardless of the prominence of the alleged abuser.

“Conveyor belt to abuse”.

More than 30 complainants were involved in the inquiry, with their lawyers describing how poor children in care were on a “conveyor belt to abuse”. They alleged being seriously sexually abused in a range of locations, including schools, a flat in London, a hotel, Janner’s car, and the Houses of Parliament.

The report was particularly critical of Thomas – the senior investigation officer in 2006. It said:

Our overriding sense is that Det Supt Christopher Thomas was uninterested in this investigation, and his decisions to limit the inquiries undertaken appeared to be reflective of a wider failure to pursue the investigation with the rigour it deserved, rather than being motivated by a wish to protect Lord Janner or show him undue deference.

The inquiry did not examine whether or not the allegations against Janner were true. But it found “crucial statements” in 2000’s Operation Magnolia police investigation were “brushed under the carpet”. And it claimed police and prosecutors “appeared reluctant to progress” the subsequent Dauntless investigation.

Janner had been a Labour MP in Leicestershire and denied sexual offences (PA)

Historic allegations

Allegations against the former Leicestershire MP first emerged in the 1990s, although the Richard Henriques report in 2016 found that failures by police and prosecutors meant three chances were missed to charge Janner in the 1990s and in operations Magnolia and Dauntless. The inquiry also said Janner should have been subject to scrutiny when he was nominated for a peerage by then-prime minister Tony Blair weeks after sweeping to power in 1997.

Previously, the investigation into MPs, peers, and civil servants working at Westminster found political institutions “significantly failed in their responses to allegations of child sexual abuse”. But it said there was no evidence of a “Westminster paedophile ring”, following allegations which kickstarted the multimillion-pound inquiry and later resulted in the prosecution of fantasist Carl Beech.

The final IICSA report, taking in all 19 strands of the inquiry, is expected to be laid before parliament next year.

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The Canary

Stories selected, edited and published by The Canary from the Press Association.

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  • Maggie Thatcher`s MI5 Protected Pedophiles ; Janner and Savile..Suppliers of Young Boys to the Tory Dolphin Square Pedo Parties.

  • He's was a wrong un. Photographed driving to the House Of Frauds to collect his attendence dole while apparantly 2 sick from dementia for further investigation. Establishment perverts are seldom questioned.let alone prosecuted. So no real suprise or investigative media coverage.... and heres carol with the weather....

    • "So no real surprise or investigative media coverage ... and here's carol with the weather ..."

      Over many years of Canadian news-media consumption, I have noticed that when victims of abuse/assault, sexual or otherwise, are girls their gender is readily reported as such; however, when they're boys, they're usually referred to gender-neutrally as children. It’s as though, as a news product made to sell the best, the child victims being female is somehow more shocking than if male. Also, I’ve heard and read news-media references to a 19-year-old female victim as a ‘girl’, while (in an unrelated case) a 17-year-old male perpetrator was described as a ‘man’.

  • There remains a general, albeit perhaps subconsciously held, mentality out there: Men can take care of themselves, and boys are basically little men. It is the mentality that might help explain why the book Childhood Disrupted was only able to include one man among its six interviewed adult subjects, there being such a small pool of ACE-traumatized men willing to formally tell his own story of childhood abuse. Could it be evidence of a continuing subtle societal take-it-like-a-man mindset? One in which so many men, even with anonymity, would prefer not to ‘complain’ to some stranger/author about his torturous childhood, as that is what ‘real men’ do? I tried multiple times contacting the book's author via internet websites in regards to this non-addressed florescent elephant in the room, but I received no response.

    Furthermore, I've noticed over many years of Canadian news-media consumption that when victims of abuse/assault, sexual or otherwise, are girls their gender is readily reported as such; however, when they're boys, they're usually referred to gender-neutrally as children. It’s as though, as a news product made to sell the best, the child victims being female is somehow more shocking than if male. Also, I’ve heard and read news-media references to a 19-year-old female victim as a ‘girl’, while (in an unrelated case) a 17-year-old male perpetrator was described as a ‘man’.

    Maybe this reveals the gender bias of the average news consumer (which includes me), since media tend to sell us what we want to consume thus buy.

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