Friday, May 22, 2015

One Woman’s Crusade for U.K. Town’s Young Rape Victims

Jayne Senior’s child-abuse reports, ignored for years, now deepen a national soul-searching

By Margaret Coker and Alexis Flynn, WSJ
May 22, 2015 3:49 p.m. ET

ROTHERHAM, England— Jayne Senior worked for more than a decade to expose rampant child sexual abuse in this rusting steel town in South Yorkshire, but she met mostly indifference and scorn from authorities.

The youth-charity director amassed evidence that a network of pedophiles “groomed” nearly 2,000 girls in her hometown, creating emotional bonds with them before raping them. Police largely dismissed her reports. In 2011, town hall revoked her funding.

Things seemed to change last August, when an independent investigation confirmed the widespread sex abuse Ms. Senior identified, concluding that at least 1,400 girls in Rotherham had been sexually abused from 1997 through mid-2013, allegedly by a gang from the Pakistani community. The police commissioner, town-council leader and child-services head resigned. After its own probe, the U.K. government in February ordered outside administrators to take over the town’s management.

The U.K.’s National Crime Agency is now examining the Rotherham cases. The national police-internal-affairs agency is investigating misconduct allegations against at least 42 officers who worked in Rotherham and the surrounding South Yorkshire police district. The NCA says it is determined to bring all offenders to justice. The police agency declines to comment on misconduct allegations.

Yet despite national attention on Rotherham, police have made only three arrests since last fall among the dozens of gang members identified as alleged perpetrators; the three haven’t been charged. Since Ms. Senior began reporting assaults in 1999, only five men have been convicted in cases she reported.

(More here.)

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