The Shame of Operation Midland

aaa-harveyFalse paedophile allegations are as damaging as child abuse.

I think I have made it patently clear in this forum that I not only have no time for Conservatives, but I utterly despise them and consider most of them filth. On an evolutionary scale I would not place them in the primordial soup ~ they are much further down than that. So it may come as some surprise to many of my readers that upon listening to former Conservative MP Harvey Proctor on LBC Radio on Tuesday, 8 November, I was moved to tears by him.

Harvey Proctor was Member of Parliament for Basildon from 1979 to 1983, and Billericay from 1983 to 1987. Very much to the right, Proctor was a member of the right-wing Monday Club for many years, including spending time as it’s secretary. He won his 1979 seat on a ticket of reducing the number of “coloured” (his words, not mine) immigrants, opposed the Anglo-Irish Agreement, and supported the return of capital punishment.

In June 1986 The People newspaper published allegations that Proctor had taken part in sexual relaitonships with men aged 17-20, when the age of consent for homosexuals sex was 21. The following year he was charged with Gross Indecency, and resigned his candidacy for his Billericay seat. He pleaded guilty and was fined £1,450. Wanting to put the whole matter behind him, he opened a prestigious shirtmakers shop in Richmond, London.

In November 2014 the Metropolitan Police launched Operation Midland into historic child sexual abuse allegations against politicians, celebrities, and VIPs, and included the allegation of a possible homicide or a child. Some of the allegations came from an anonymous complainant known only as “Nick”. On 4 March 2015, police raided the home of Harvey Proctor on the Belvoir Estate, based upon the allegations of “Nick”. Proctor denied any wrongdoing but resigned his post with the Duke and Duchess of Rutland on 25 March 2015 “with immediate effect”. He was interviewed by police in June 2015, and again in August 2015. On 25 August 2015 he gave a press conference in which he called the inquiry against him as a “homosexual witch hunt” and stated “I’m a homosexual. I’m not a murderer or a paedophile. I’m completely innocent of all these allegations.”

Meanwhile, Operation Midland was falling apart as claim after claim of “Nick” proved to be false or unproven. Among others investigated had been Army Lord Bramall and Lord Leon Brittan, who was gravely ill when his home was raided and he was questioned by police. Lord Brittan died in January 2015, without being told charges against him had been dropped. Harvey Proctor was the last person to be investigated by police, until 21 March 2016, when he was told that no further action would be taken, and Operation Midland was subsequently wound up.

On 8 November an independent review into the £2.3 million Operation Midland, which never resulted in one arrest, found several failings by the Metropolitan Police, and said the decision to abandon it should have been taken “much earlier”. Against many of their criticisms was the readiness of police to believe “Nick”, who had also implicated heads of UK security services.

The Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, accepted “accountability for these failures” and stated “It is a matter of professional and personal dismay that the suspects in the investigation were pursued for so long when it could have been concluded much earlier. He apologised to Lord Bramall, the widow of Lord Brittan, and Harvey Proctor.

Speaking on LBC Radio, Harvey Proctor, now 69, told just what a toll Operation Midland had taken on his life. He told show host Iain Dale “It’s been devastating. Unrepairable. As you know I lost my job, my home, my family, unusual family although it might be, split asunder.

“I received death threats, and I am now destitute. I have no money. When other people say they have no money, they are down to their last hundred thousand. I have no money.”

Iain Dale then asked what the darkest time was, and for a good number of seconds the line went silent. Then Mr Proctor responded, sobbing audibly ~ and I openly cried along with him, and I cried, and cried as my heart went out to him.

No innocent person, whoever they are, deserves to be reduced to that.

As my regular readers will know, I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. And some may wonder then why I should care so much because of someone under investigation for paedophile offences. A chance to clear his name, surely? No, loves, it is precisely because I am an abuse survivor that I am sad ~ and angry ~ at the haphazard dealings of Operation Midland and the way that innocent men had their lives destroyed by an individual whom I can only describe as a fantasist, a police force too ready to believe him, and a police commissioner who should have had the sense to close down the operation much earlier.

Allegations of being a child sex abuser are among the most devastating anyone can have laid at their door. As we have seen in the case of Harvey Proctor, it destroys lives. Those accused can lose their marriages, family, friends, their jobs and livelihoods, their homes and their entire reputations, and can face endless verbal abuse, threats of and actual violence. And because the public believe “no smoke without fire”, that follows the suspect to the end of their days. Now, where the allegations are true, then as far as I am and concerned, much of that ~ short of actual violence ~ they deserve everything they get. And I mean that from the child sex attacker, right down to the paedophile who masturbates to images of naked children. Contrary to what some claim, it is not a victimless crime to view naked kids ~ someone, somewhere, is abusing those children, and because it is about supply and demand, every paedophile viewing those images are complicit in that abuse.

But where the suspect is innocent of all allegations against them, it becomes a very different matter altogether. To have your life destroyed because you are labelled a “pervert” by society is certainly an experience too many reading this will be all too familiar with. Many here will have had to change their identity, and maybe even to move home, perhaps many times over. They may have been cast out by their families, had partners shun them, denied access to their children, lost their jobs, been completely ostracised by society, almost certainly faced verbal abuse and threats, and in many cases, been subjected to actual violence. Many will have suffered mental trauma, perhaps even clinical depression, due to the treatment they have suffered. Innocent suspects of paedophilia suffer exactly the same. Indeed, in some cases it can be worse.

I recall in the late-1990s, some red-top newspapers stirred up a “paedophile panic” in the UK, from which we have never recovered. It led to lynch mobs chasing innocent people, mostly men, out of their homes and beating them up. The satirical magazine Private Eye one week ran a cartoon which showed a man running from a mob with the caption “I’m a PAEDIATRICIAN, you morons.” The following week it actually happened, when a woman paediatrician had her surgery burned out.

Feeling was particularly strong in Scotland, in the wake of the 1996 Dunblane massacre, when paedophile Thomas Hamilton gunned down 16 schoolchildren and their teacher. Just down the road in the Raploch district of Stirling, housewife Mags Heaney had set herself up as head of a vigilante mob which was attacking the homes of single men suspected of being paedophiles. When one such man complained to police, Mrs Heaney was taken to the man’s door, along with cameras from Scottish Television, and was forced to apologise to him. Mags Heaney’s family at the time were among the largest drug dealers in Scotland, who were selling everything from cannabis to herion to the very kids they claimed to be protecting. So arrogant they were that they even called themselves “Heaney Heroin Limited.”

Prosecutions and jail terms against many of the Heaney family, including “Big Mags”, followed, but they had done untold damage to the lives of many men, who had to move their homes, had lost their jobs in the process, and some of whom actually changed their identity to avoid future persecution.

I cannot reiterate just how dangerous false allegations of paedophilia are, and especially as a survivor of child sex abuse, how damaging it is to those of us who genuinely suffered. Why damaging? Because every time the police are busy investigating a false accusation, every time they have to deal with misguided vigilantes, every time they have to investigate themselves for failing to recognise false allegations, a child somewhere is being sexually abused, and the attacker is getting away with it.

Paedophilia, be it active or inactive, is much more prevalent than most give credence to. And what is more dangerous is the fact that by and large it is rarely a case of “stranger danger” or the myth (which it is) of the dirty old man in a shabby raincoat in the park; the overwhelming majority of child sex attackers are known to the child and their family, often family members or friends. And because none likes to think any bad of their family or friends, few are willing to admit that. Therefore, even in 2016, when there are many more cases of child sex attacks coming to light, and many more historical survivors coming forward, what we see remains very much the tip of the iceberg. The overwhelming majority of child abuse cases still go unreported, precisely because far from being strangers committing these crimes, it is those close to the victims.

And Harvey Proctor’s sexuality, and past convictions, are not lost on me either. There is certainly evidence that many thought Mr Proctor must be guilty because of his convictions for sex with boys aged 17 to 20, and that includes among the officers investigating him. Again, there are many reading this will know all too well that all too often the public think gay / bi / lesbian / anything other than straight must equal paedophile. All us “queers” are castigated by the cishet pubic majority as perverts, and to their uneducated hive mentality, if we indulge in one “perversion”, we must indulge in all of them. In fact, not only are the majority of paedophiles known to their victims, but they are mostly heterosexual men ~ even those men who prey upon little boys (this was true of my attacker). Whilst the incidence is much lower, heterosexual women make up the second highest proportion of paedophiles. But LGBT+ paedophiles are way down at the bottom of the scale, with the incidence of sex attacks on children among the community being extremely rare indeed.

So, in the wake of the findings of the inquiry into Operation Midland, where do we go next? Harvey Proctor has called for the immediate resignation of Met Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe. I fully back that. Sir Bernard has already opted for early retirement, due to other incompetent incidents under his tenure. I personally think that January 2017 is too late for him to go, he should go NOW. But then, I reckon if Sir Bernard had one shred of decency left in his entire frame, he would go into an empty room with a loaded gun, and take the last honourable step left open to him. And yes, dears, I do mean that.

A review of how suspected child sex attackers are identified is definitely needed, including education of police officers to recognise that sexual diversity does not equal paedophile. Do I think the Met are homophobic? Yes, and one need only look at the way some LGBT+ people have been treated by the police in London to recognise the truth of this. But then, they are not alone among police forces in that respect.

I would also urge that police across the UK receive retraining and education in the entire subject of paedophilia, it’s incidence and the huge number of historical cases which go unreported, with the survivors often staying silent until their abuser is dead (as was my experience).

Anonymity should not only be afforded to accusers, but also to the accused. Those affected by Operation Midland not only had their lives destroyed by the authorities, but also faced trial-by-media, and are to this day suffering from a cishet public who still believe “no smoke without fire”.

The investigation of accusers should always be taken seriously. But at the same time, such allegations themselves need to be thoroughly scrutinised. I would suggest interviews of accusers not by police psychologists but by independent psychologists who can be called in to do so.

“Nick” needs to be prosecuted for the enormous damage he has done to a great many people. And unless found himself to have serious psychological problems, once convicted, I do believe he should be named and shamed ~ for his activities have been every bit as damaging to innocents as child sex attackers.

Unfortunately, all this is locking the stable door after the horse has bolted, and it may have done irreparable damage to future investigations of suspected child abusers. The independent inquiry into Operation Midland made 25 recommendations, including;

  • The instruction to officers to “believe a ‘victim’s’ account” should cease.
  • Investigators should be informed that false complaints are made from time to time and should not be regarded as a remote possibility.

Whilst false complaints are indeed serious to the point of being devastating to the accused, these recommendations are nonetheless disturbing. There are so very many silent survivors of childhood sexual abuse simply because nobody believes them. I know this, because I was one. These recommendations may make that all the more difficult, and an unwillingness to believe accusers may cause a great many more children to suffer some of the worst trauma possible in silence.

Why Edward Heath abuse allegations worry me

Edward Heath

Edward Heath

Unsubstantiated claims could harm many

Sir Edward Heath was Conservative Prime Minister from 1970 to 1974.  Seen by many as a progressive “one nation Tory”, he was fiercely in favour of Britain’s membership of what was then the European Economic Community (EEC) and the man who dismissed Enoch Powell MP from the Conservative Party for his notorious “rivers of blood” speech about immigrants.  He finally fell when he tried to take on the National Union of Mineworkers in a strike over pay.

Heath was also a bachelor, and one of the few British Ministers never to have married.  He was also seldom seen in female company, and this, coupled with unsubstantiated allegations about male friends, led to a great deal of speculation, even voiced in the media that he was gay.  Whether this is true or not, Edward Heath took to the grave with him in 2005.

With investigations continuing into sexual abuse of children by politicians and other high-profile people in the 1970s, allegations have now been levelled against Edward Heath, serious enough that there are now three investigations about his activities.

The first involves brothel madame Myra Forde, whom it has been claimed that, as one of her clients, she knew that Heath had a penchant for little boys and used this to blackmail him into getting a court case against her dropped in 1992.

The second is that Edward Heath was involved in a VIP paedophile ring operating in Westminster in the 1960s, with at least one person alleging he was a “core member”.

The third involves allegations that Heath used his yacht, Morning Cloud, to visit Jersey, a British dependency in the Channel Islands, to visit a home where it is now known children suffered systematic sexual and physical abuse.  It is further alleged that he took children aboard Morning Cloud to abuse them.

These are of course serious allegations, and given that it is now known there was indeed a VIP paedophile ring involving politicians in the 1970s, they deserve to be taken seriously.  The abuse of children in the 1970s was never taken seriously, which resulted in high-profile people such as Liberal MP Cyril Smith and DJ and celebrity Jimmy Saville getting away with molesting children with impunity.  Saville, once knighted for his charity work for children’s hospitals and at one time held up as a national treasure, is now thought to have been one of the most prolific active paedophiles in history, with over 300 cases reported – and people still coming forward.  Things are very different today, and however flimsy the claim, the police take these matters extremely seriously and one wishes them every success in their investigations.

So, as a survivor of sexual abuse and as one who despises Tories, why should this worry me?  Because of the connotations the abuse claims are already kicking up; that because Edward Heath may have been gay, and now child sexual abuse claims are being levelled towards him, people are already putting two and two together and coming up with five.

The internet is now awash with blogs and commentators on them by people stating that Heath’s dubious sexuality means he must have been a paedophile.  Therein lies the danger.  Unsubstantiated claims levelled, while there is an enquiry into VIP paedophile rings, people want to believe that Heath was guilty, and as he never married, and was alleged to be gay, he has already been tried and convicted by many.

Time to get things into perspective.

Firstly, and I cannot reiterate this often enough, the overwhelming vast majority of paedophiles are heterosexual men, many married with families of them own.  A child is – statistically at least – much safer in the hands of a gay man or a lesbian woman than they are in the hands of a heterosexual male.

Some of the investigations are spurious to say the least, with at least one accuser known to be a fantasist, and others based on hearsay.   The investigations apart, one of the more loony accusations that have been levelled against Heath is that he was blackmailed into the UK joining the EEC by people who had proof of him abusing kids.  These claims are made by right-wing Eurosceptics who cannot accept the fact that any Tory PM was pro-European.

There’s no proof that Edward Heath ever sailed to or set foot on Jersey, let alone visited the Haut de la Garenne Children’s Home.  Nonetheless, there is now one woman alleging that she saw 11 boys boarding Morning Cloud, and counted only 10 returning; the inference being that Heath murdered one of the boys – and of course not one of the other 10 ever saw anything and have never spoken about it.

Former Madame Myra Forde has denied any of the allegations.  Through her former solicitor, she has stated “For the avoidance of any doubt, Myra Forde wishes me to make it clear that she had no involvement with Ted Heath of any kind and has no knowledge of any misconduct on his part.”  and of the court case dropped, continued that the prosecution “took what, at the time, seemed a sensible decision that they could not prove their case and offered no evidence”.  Consider also that for the case to be dropped would need Edward Heath to lean upon the Crown prosecutors, when he was not in office, and really had no power.

Finally, and this must be sacrosanct to any allegations, as much as some of us may hate Tories with a vengeance, the rule of law is that the accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty.  Edward Heath can no longer speak for himself, but like any accused his innocence must be presumed until proven otherwise.

I had no love for Edward Heath, as I have no love for any Tories, and I am not for one moment suggesting that he is innocent of the allegations laid against him.  Investigations are already proving that at the least it is strongly likely that he knew of a paedophile ring among MPs, and did nothing to stop that.  But then, he was not alone in that, with Harold Wilson, Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair, and perhaps even Nick Clegg and David Cameron sharing that particular shame.

But to accuse a man who may – or may not – have been gay, and then automatically colour him as a paedophile, on the flimsiest of evidence, is to go down a very dangerous road indeed.  And a road that could lead to members of the LGBTQI community and single cishet men targeted by lynch mobs as potential paedophiles.  It happened once before in the UK in the 1990s, when red top newspapers whipped up public hysteria about paedophiles, and it could all to easily happen again.

Edward Heath was certainly a slimy bastard.  I recall him as Prime Minister, with the nightly power cuts and the oil crisis of 1973, with motorists lining up and even fighting for petrol rations.  He was a hapless Prime Minister and life was dismal under him.  He could have been a child abuser, and he may not have been – that is for the police to investigate and any enquiry, made congnisant with the full facts, to decide; not the public and certainly not conspiracy theorists and keyboard warriors, who however well-meaning, could end up hurting innocent people in the process.

Lord Janner: cover-up means no closure

Greville Janner

Greville Janner

It is no longer a conspiracy theory when it is the truth

I have been following the story of Lord Greville Janner in the media. At first I was not going to write about this, but as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse I feel I must, even if only because it is cathartic for me to do so.

The story surrounds Labour Party peer Lord Greville Janner, who has been the subject of many child sex abuse accusations, and who has since been deemed unfit to stand trial. The first such accusations against Greville Janner began when he was Labour Party Member of Parliament (MP) for Leicester North West.

When former Leicestershire social worker Frank Beck had been charged with over 100 counts sexual abuse in childrens homes in 1991, police then confirmed they were investigating Greville Janner and he was interviewed by police. During his trial Beck claimed that on one occasion he personally intervened to prevent Janner from anally raping a little boy. One former child home resident giving evidence against Frank Beck also claimed that Greville Janner had also regularly abused him. Frank Beck was convicted of a number of rape and child sex abuse charges in November 1991.

The following month Greville Janner made a speech in the House of Commons (lower house of UK government) in which he steadfastly denied the allegations laid against him by Frank Beck and the former child home resident. His speech drew support from all sides of the House and calls for those facing false accusations in the nature of child sex abuse to be protected in law. The Crown Prosecution Service then dropped all investigations against him. In 1997 Greville Janner was enobled as a Life Peer of the House of Lords (unelected upper chamber of UK government) and took the title Baron Janner of Braunstone.

In 2002 another former child home resident went to Leicestershire police, making accusations of childhood sexual abuse against Janner. The case was never passed to the Crown Prosecution Service. In 2006 yet another former resident lodged accusations against Janner and this time the case was passed to the Crown Prosecution Service. In 2007 they decided there was insufficient evidence to proceed with a prosecution.

In 2009 Greville Janner was diagnosed with Alzeimher’s Disease, and went on formal leave of absence from the House of Lords, which continues to this day.

In January 2013 Leicestershire Police launched Operation Enamel, with help from London’s Metropolitan police, investigating historical child sex abuse operations. More than a dozen accusations of child sex abuse were made against Greville Janner by former child home residents. In December that year Janner’s home was searched by police, and in March 2014 his Westminster offices were searched. Janner subsequently signed his property over to his children, effectively making police unable to carry out further searches.

On 9 April 2015 Greville Janner sent a signed letter to the House of Lords asking to extend his formal leave of absence. The letter stated “I am writing to request leave of absence from the House of Lords for the duration of the 2015 Parliament. I understand that this will take effect on the next sitting day.” A House of Lords spokesman stated that the signature matched that of previous letters from Lord Janner, including another leave of absence letter of 3 October 2014, and he had no reason to believe that the letter had been written by anyone else.

On 16 April 2015 the Crown Prosecution Service announced that despite having sufficient evidence to bring prosecutions against Greville Janner for up to 25 child sex offences involving little boys from 1969 to 1988, they would be unable to charge him due to reasons of infirmity. Janner, now 88, had been examined by four medical experts in the preceding months, who had ruled that Alzeimher’s Disease was so severe that he was unfit to stand trial. The Crown Prosecution Service had received the evidence over a year previously and had never acted upon it.

Making absolutely no apologies, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Alison Saunders said in her statement; “Had the previous decisions been to prosecute, as they should have been, Lord Janner would have had the opportunity to challenge the evidence and defend himself through the trial process, with a jury ultimately deciding on his guilt or innocence some years ago.”

The decision brought anger not only from Greville Janner’s alleged victims and members of the public, but also from police officers involved in Operation Enamel. Detectives from Leicestershire Police maintained that their investigations into Janner would continue and even said they were considering an unprecedented challenge to the Crown Prosecution Service. Deputy Detective Chief Constable Roger Bannister, who had headed up the investigation called the decision “perverse” and stated “There is credible evidence that this man carried out some of the most serious sexual crimes imaginable over three decades against children who were highly vulnerable and the majority of whom were in care. We are exploring what possible legal avenues there may be to challenge this decision and victims themselves have a right to review under a CPS procedure.”

After decades of knowing of the suspicions about him, the Labour Party finally acted and suspended Greville Janner from party membership on the same day.

On 19 April 2015 The Times revealed that a barrister, Neil Moore, whom DPP Alison Saunders had consulted on the Janner case, had until late 2014 shared legal chambers with Daniel Janner, Greville Janner’s son. The premises at 23 Essex Street, London, had been raised with Mrs Saunders. A Crown Prosecution Service spokesperson claimed that the two had not spoken in two years and that Mr Moore had acted with integrity.

On 22 May 2015 The Mirror revealed that a file containing accusations against Greville Janner has apparently been “lost” by the UK Home Office. The Wanless Report which investigates an alleged government cover-up of child sex abuse cases involving British politicians, mentions 114 such files that have been lost. One from 1986 names Greville Janner and another whose name has been obscured, states “re evidence in child abuse cases” and that the file was “Not found” and recorded as “presumed transferred to MoJ [Ministry of Justice] but not located”. Consider that this file apparently contains evidence against Janner from at least 1986, a full five years before he was publicly accused in the Frank Beck case.

On 25 May 2015, The Telegraph revealed that Alison Saunders worked in the same legal chambers as Greville Janner. The Telegraph stated “Ms Saunders began her career at 1 Garden Court chambers in 1983, when Lord Janner was already a leading QC there and she is likely to have worked with the same colleagues and moved in the same professional circles as him.” Lord Janner remained QC at 1 Garden Court chambers until 1986. A spokesman for the Crown Prosecution Service countered, “It is common knowledge that Alison Saunders had her pupillage at Garden Court chambers. But the DPP and Lord Janner have never met. This is ridiculous.” The article in The Telegraph also contained an earlier statement from Alison Saunders, in which she said “I’m not part of the establishment. If it was an Establishment over-up I’ve had to pay a very heavy price for it. It’s certainly not a cover-up.”

In another guise I usually blow conspiracy theories wide open. In this case, with so many suspect incidents, and so many inconsistencies, so many things setting off alarm bells, in all honesty I cannot do so. I can only conclude that there is indeed a cover-up being perpetuated, and one which the government is not even attempting to hide.

I am not for one moment accusing Greville Janner of being guilty. Neither I nor anyone else outside of the Crown Prosecution Service has the evidence to do that (and apparently they may not have some of it either). He and his family have constantly stated that he is totally innocent of all accusations laid before him. Yet for an innocent man, some of his actions have to be called into question.

Why sign over his property to his children after his home was raided by the police? Why should he feel the need to do this if he is innocent? If innocent, would his children then make legal attempts to block any further searches, and if so, why?

Can we believe that Janner’s Alzeimher’s Disease is so very pronounced that he is unfit to stand trial? He was diagnosed with the terrible mind-wasting disease in 2009, yet he was able to legally sign ownership of his property to his children in 2013. He signed letters to the House of Lords, asking that his leave of absence be extended on regular occasions, including one in October 2014, and one just days before the DPP decision not to prosecute, on 9 April 2015. Does that sound like a person with advanced Alzeimher’s so severe that they cannot stand trial? It has been stated by some that Alzeimher’s sufferers can have amazing moments of lucidity. This is true, but the disease is progressive and those moments tend to be just that; moments. Are we to seriously believe that Greville Janner snatched those moments to sign his property to his children?

Some others have mentioned that fantasy writer Terry Pratchett was diagnosed with early-onset Alzeimher’s and remained largely lucid until his death in March 2015. This is equally true, but if Greville Janner had the same amount of alacrity as Terry Pratchett, then he should have been deemed perfectly fit to stand trial.

What are we to make of the link between barrister Neil Moore, and Janner’s son, Daniel Janner QC? On one hand we are told they shared the same legal chambers until late 2014, then on the other hand we are told that the two had not talked for two years at the time of investigation, early 2015. Just how likely is it that two men of law, in and out of the same offices, day by day, do not speak in two full years?

And of course, the file that was “lost”. I fully appreciate that in the mid-1980s the vast majority of government files were on paper. I once worked in a government office transferring data from old files onto a computer database. If any files went “lost” then heads tended to roll and there was a search for the said files. In my experience government files do not become lost unless someone wants them “lost”. The saddest fact of this is that the missing Janner files have probably been sent for confidential destruction a long time since.

What of DPP Alison Saunders starting her career at 1 Garden Court chambers while Greville Janner was a sitting QC there? I tend to agree with The Telegraph that she would have been “likely to have worked with the same colleagues and moved in the same professional circles as him.” Especially if she was indeed under her “pupilage”, who better to learn from than the sitting Queens Counsel in those very chambers? The Crown Prosecution Service spokesman who claimed that Saunders “never met” Janner cannot give any proof that is the case, and I would suggest that to expect the public to believe that two people working in the same legal chambers for three years never met is what is truly ridiculous.

By equal measure it is wholly disingenious for Alison Saunders to even try to claim “I’m not part of the establishment.”  As Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders is the head of the Crown Prosecution Service, a Crown office.  To suggest that the person in charge of bringing prosecutions on behalf of the Crown – the person who has the power to make the decision not to prosecute a suspected serial child sex offender – is not part of the establishment is not merely an absurdity, it is derisory.

So do the alleged victims have any cause of redress? Apparently not, according to legal experts. Not at least any that anyone is likely to trust.

Some point out that to be tried in absentia that Greville Janner would have to be at the trial to make a plead on the first day of proceedings at least. If unfit to do so, then the trial cannot proceed. Now, I’m not great legal mind but surely his defending counsel could make that plea upon his behalf? Is that not what they are there for? Indeed, given that his son is a Queen’s Counsel, let him take the case and enter the plea on his father’s behalf. But then there is the point that the judge may then have to deem if he finds the defendant is unfit to give evidence, or that evidence cannot be heard. The latter is the sticking point. In such cases it is really Greville Janner’s word against his accusers, and if he were deemed unfit to defend himself, then any such case would be thrown out as a mistrial.

Another point, which some legal experts have stated, that even if he stood trial and was found guilty, on reasons of age and infirmity, the judge may have no choice but to order an immediate discharge. Alison Saunders, the DPP, stated she examined this avenue and the possibility of a discharge is one reason she decided not to prosecute. As a survivor, I have news for Ms Saunders. Whether or not the accused is discharged or not is immaterial; it is justice being seen to be done and the victims finally having some measure of closure which is important. For what it is worth, whatever they have done, I would never condone sending an elderly and very infirm person to prison.  It is the conviction which matters, not the sentence.

Victims could of course bring private prosecutions. Firstly they would have to find the funds or legal aid which would enable them to do so. They would however be limited to the prosecutions they could bring, possibly only gross indecency and / or buggery, both of which would be very hard to prove without solid evidence to back them up. And of course, if the judge deemed Greville Janner unfit to stand trial, or his evidence could not be heard, then we are back to a mistrial. That is if they even got to bring the cases, as such charges require the permission of the DPP to proceed, and the DPP also reserves the right to take such cases over if she deems it necessary. Given her decision I doubt even one of the alleged victims even wants to approach the DPP.

Leicestershire Police are continuing to investigate the possibility of a Judicial Review of the decision not to prosecute. In doing so they would have to prove that the DPP did not act in accordance with both the law and the Crown Prosecution Service Code of Practice, did not act in good faith, or “uninfluenced by any ulterior motive, predilection or prejudice,” Based upon those criteria any judge hearing the case is highly unlikely to overturn the DPP’s position.

So that leaves only a public enquiry, which of course would be the remit of the government to carry out. The present government hardly has a great track record with public enquiries into child sex abuse. Another such enquiry into parliamentary sexual abuse only recently restarted after the first two people chosen to chair them were forced to resign after both were found to have close links to one of the alleged perpetrators. Sadly however, a public enquiry seems to be the only means of redress the alleged victims will ever have, and that stinks. It is not justice, it will not see a conviction being brought, it will rely largely upon the evidence of the accusers, and it does not settle the matter once and for all. In that estimation I would say that it is not, nor can it ever be closure for people who are suffering a life sentence.

And for what it is worth, for all the claims of innocence from him and his family, neither does it clear Greville Janner. If anything he will now forever be the subject of trial by media, and always be considered guilty in the eyes of the public. The decision by DPP Alison Saunders gives no closure for anyone in this matter, and I would venture that makes her position wholly untenable. If she does not resign, or the next incoming government does not dismiss her, then there truly is no justice.

In 1997 a case at the Old Bailey against an alleged Nazi War Criminal, Szymon Serafinowicz, was dropped on the grounds of the defendant being unable to testify on the grounds of senile dementia. Greville Janner, who was then Chairman of the Holocaust Educational Trust, was rightly livid and lambasted the Crown Prosecution Service, stating, “I am sorry that he was not tried while he was fit enough to stand. War criminals have managed to evade prosecution under our system of justice for decades. There were absolutely no reasons why he should have escaped charges for ever.” According to The Jewish Chronicle in 2012 Janner stated, “I don’t care what bloody age they are. These criminals should have been dealt with years ago.”

I could not agree more.

Who is on trial? A suspected paedophile? Or LGBT and BDSM people?

_0Character assassination and trial by media can only ever hurt the innocent

I am somewhat disturbed at a story in Pink News, which concerns a Roman Catholic priest who is defending charges of molesting little boys.  Am I disturbed by the story?  Well, yes naturally, but the abuse of children within the RC Church is now so endemic that one comes to expect it.  What concerns me more is the level of journalism Pink News appears to have sunk to.

“Catholic Priest had huge gay S&M porn collection, court hears”, screams the headline; and my immediate and initial reaction is “So what?”

The story concerns Father Anthony McSweeney (68), who is defending charges that he molested three young boys between 1979 – 1981.  He has admitted buying gay S&M pornography during a visit to Amsterdam’s red light district, which he kept hidden until it was discovered by his housekeeper.

There is no indication of this pornography being of a paedophile nature, and if that is the case, then I completely fail to see what bearing it should have either upon the case, or Father McSweeney’s character for that matter.  I can already hear some of you shouting that he is a priest, he’s supposed to be celibate and an upstanding member of the community.  Yes dears, and first and foremost he is a human being, with the sexual drives and leanings of all human beings.  Oh, and by the way, if he’s tossing off to gay porn, he is still effectively being celibate.

If the prosecution is seeking to convict Father McSweeney, who denies all charges laid against him, then they are using the guilt by character argument.  And as far as the public is concerned, Pink News is merely helping them to do that.

Father McSweeney may be guilty for all I – and you – know, and he may well be innocent.  To attempt to destroy him by his character and by bringing his other sexual pecadilloes into the case however, could very well sway the case against him using an extremely low blow and on a completely false dichotomy.

Consider the case of silent film star Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle and his part in the death of starlet Virigina Rappe.  On 9 September 1921 Virginia Rappe attended a party at a hotel suite rented by Roscoe Arbuckle.  That Rappe was a “good time girl” was no secret and it wasn’t long before she disappeared from the scene, as did Arbuckle.  She was found in a bedroom, bleeding profusely from her anus.  Her last words to other girls at the party were “Roscoe Arbuckle did this to me.  Don’t let him get away with it.”  She died soon after from a ruptured bladder and secondary peretonitis.  After three mistrials Arbuckle, accused of killing the girl by either vaginally or anally raping her, was acquitted of all charges.  His defence had been to prove that Virginia Rappe had loose morals, had several previous convictions, including extortion, and that veneral disease and, absurdly, cystitis, were the case of death.  The result was that a man guilty of the brutal rape (Arbuckle was hung like a horse, as well as being obese) of a young girl, walked free, purely because of the girl’s past character.

So it is that if Father McSweeney is tried on his character, because he is gay and has a penchant for sado-masochistic sex, then he is being tried on a false dichotomy which has absolutely no bearing on any paedophilic tendences he may or may not have.

That may have serious repercussions over who and what exactly on trial here.  Is it a priest accused of molesting young boys, is it being gay, or is it the BDSM lifestyle?  Most of my readers will already be painfully aware that the LGBT community in general and gay men in particular are often falsely accused of being perverts who prey upon little boys.  In fact, for those of you who are not aware, the opposite is true.  The overwhelming majority of active paedophiles who prey upon little boys are in fact heterosexual men. As case studies and statistics have proven, children are in fact much safer in the company of gay men.

Likewise, one would be hard-pushed to find anyone in the BDSM lifestyle who is sexually attracted to children.  BDSM is built upon trust between two or more consenting adults, who achieve sexual satisfaction through the willing subjection of the body and humiliation of the person.  I am not for one moment saying that there are not gay or sado-masochistic paedophiles; of course they exist, just as there are people with many sexual preferences who are also paedophiles.  No-one however could ever suggest that any child forced into gay or sado-masochistic sex would or could be a willing and / or consensual participant.  Yet by bringing the priest’s pornography collection into the case, it seems to me that the prosecution is immediately trying to make that correlation.

To attempt to make any such connection has the extremely dangerous potential to demonise both the LGBT community and those in the BDSM lifestyle (sometimes the same people) in both the eyes of the jury in the case, and worse still, the eyes of the public as sexual perverts who are a danger to children.

As we live in a culture of paranoia where parents see a paedophile on every corner (they’d do better to watch their own relatives and friends), such reporting can only serve to exacerbate the suspicion both LGBT are viewed with, at the very time children should be being taught all genders and sexualities are normal and something to be proud of.  To say I am disappointed in Pink News therefore would be an understatement.

The Pink News article can be read here:

Paedophilia: Not Natural, Not Normal, Not Even Sexual


I read only recently of a conference which took place at Cambridge University in July 2014 on paedophilia and hebephilia (sexual arousal from pubescent children and teens aged 11 to 15). So was this some scholarly conference looking into the root causes of sexual abuse of children, treatment of offenders, the effects upon their victims and care given to them? Not a bit of it. This was nothing but a bunch of paedophile apologists who try to claim that their vile practices are natural, normal, and in the case of some, beneficial and the ‘rights’ of children.

Amongst those attending was the Tom O’Carroll, who in the 1970s founded the notorious Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE). No surprise there. O’Carroll, a former boarding school teacher and Open University lecturer, has often been under investigation by police for his activities. Among other things he distributed was a list of suggested careers for paedophiles. It will surprise few to discover that top of that list was to become a member of the clergy. More sickening was the suggestion of shoe salesman – to enable paedophiles to look up the skirts of little girls. In 1980 O’Carroll published a book, Paedophilia: The Radical Case, in which he argued that children had a “human right” to seek sexual partners and engage in sexual relations. O’Carroll has received several jail sentences for his activities, most of which have been ridiculously short, including 2½ years after being caught in a police sting which proved he had access to 50,000 indecent images of children.

Another attendee at the conference was Ken Plummer, an emeritus professor of Sociology at Essex University. In 2012 Plummer published on his personal blog a chapter from his 1991 book, Male Intergenerational Intimacy. In this chapter he argued,

“As homosexuality has become slightly less open to sustained moral panic, the new pariah of ‘child molester’ has become the latest folk devil… …Many adult paedophiles say that boys actively seek out sex partners … …’childhood’ itself is not a biological given but an historically produced social object.”

In those few lines alone, Plummer exposes his true nature; the manipulative nature of a paedophile, heavily in denial. He also proves himself to take a wholly unscientific approach to the subject.

Firstly, there is a huge difference between homosexuality and paedophilia. Contrary to the conference attempting to argue that it is “natural and normal” for men, paedophilia is neither. Whilst the “gay gene” is as yet an unproven, scientific research strongly supports the hypothesis that gender and sexuality are decided before birth, and therefore natural and normal. This is not the case with paedophilia, which far from being natural, is a “learned behaviour”, and it is neither normal, nor has much in fact to do with sexuality. Learned behaviours can range from perfectly harmless sexual activities between consenting adults, such as role play or BDSM, to dangerous predatory behaviours, such as stalking, rape, and of course paedophilia.  There is no paedophile gene.

But even then, paedophilia, like other forms of sexual assault, is not even primarily sexually driven. Paedophiles are in fact inadequate individuals, seeking to assert power over those unable to defend themselves. The paedophile, like anyone carrying out any form of abuse over others, be that verbal, written, psychological, physical, or sexual, deep down is a bully, and in the true nature of the bully, a coward.

Secondly, to attempt to equate paedophilia with homosexuality is not only a false dichotomy, it is one which is downright dangerous to members of the LGBT community. I take the point that Plummer is not connecting the two. That is not however how the vast majority of the uninformed cisgender / heterosexual population see it. All too often the LGBT community, particularly gay men, are accused of being child abusers. This stigma, fed by some religious communities, particularly among the Christian and Islamic faiths, leads to consequences for gay men ranging from being ostracised by their local community and even family members, to violent attacks and even murder. Discussing this matter with one friend, he stated that it is true that when parents discover that he is gay, they “look askance at their children”.

In fact, not only are the vast majority of gay men not paedophiles, the facts tell us that, statistically at least, children are safer in their company than that of heterosexual males. It has been continually proven that the vast majority of men who carry out sexual assaults are heterosexual, and even married men with families of their own, even those men who prey upon little boys. Indeed, case studies have shown that most men convicted of paedophile assaults upon boys, have expressed horror and disgust at any suggestion of them having sexual contact with other adult males. This only serves to underline the fact that paedophilia is not driven mainly by sexuality but rather by the craving for power over others.

Thirdly, of course paedophiles are going to claim that children sometimes approach them sexually. Paedophiles being extremely manipulative and heavily in denial, this is merely an attempt to shift the blame onto the victim, a common tactic used by a great many of offenders of many crimes, and certainly among sexual offenders, particularly rapists. Consider how often a defendant in a rape case has claimed “She was asking for it”, and how often the defence counsel has attempted to cast aspersions upon the character of the complainant. Sadly, this has too often proved successful and has seen many men guilty of rape walk free from court, but that is changing. We no longer live in the days when Roscoe Arbuckle walked from court a free man after his anal rape and manslaughter of Virginia Rappe, because his counsel showed her to be a “good time girl”. The character of any victim should never even enter the question when considering assaults upon them, and that applies as much to children as it does to adults who have been victims of rape.

And yes, there may be times when a child approaches an adult sexually. That however is not a green light for the adult to act upon that, but rather to behave like a responsible adult, and gently rebuff them. Further than that however, if a child is behaving overtly sexual, then that should set off alarm bells in the head of any well-adjusted adult. No child learns overt sexual behaviour naturally, but must have learned it from somewhere else, and that may indicate it is time to get the authorities involved. We have all heard the old jokes about nymphomania, yet not many are aware that it is a recognised psychological disorder, and the cause in most cases is sexual abuse in childhood. I recall reading of one case once, of a little girl who have been molested by both parents from such an early age that she considered sex normal and thought that it happened to every child. So it is that children subjected to sexual abuse and seeking closeness, will confuse sexuality with affection and compassion, and ‘come on’ to an adult. Any paedophile reciprocating the sexual advances in any such scenario is not standing by the “right” of the child to a sexual partner, as the apologists would claim; they are merely taking advantage of the situation to gratify their own perverted urges.

There may also well be a small number of cases where children, having learned a little about sexual matters may think they want sex but they obviously do not and cannot comprehend the reality of what they seek. I particularly liked the analogy one psychologist used for such cases; that of likening it to a kid wanting to drive a car. Many children love cars, which they see as fast and exciting. Yet only a maniac would allow a child to drive a car, and most children even if offered would be horrified or scared to death to even try, or if they did try would very quickly discover that they were in way too deep in a frightening situation, far beyond their control. Exactly the same applies to children making sexual advances. Again, it is cognisant upon the adult to act responsibly when children are in dangerous situations, and protect them from themselves.

Fourthly, the claim that “’childhood’ itself is not a biological given but an historically produced social object.” is unscientific in it’s very basis. One does not have to be a genius at biology to know that prepubescent bodies are not ready for sex. Vaginal or anal penetration can lead prolapse and a host of other physical problems both immediately and which may stay with the victim for the remainder of their lives. Extreme damage caused to girls through sexual assault can result in the inability to bear children once the girl reaches adulthood. Likewise the continued buggery of children can lead to fistula in ano, a particularly nasty and extremely painful small channel that develops between the end of the bowel and the skin near the anus. There is also obviously the dangers of vaginal and anal tearing, the pain and complications that can cause, and the dangers of spreading sexually transmitted diseases through the said tears.

Then there is the psychological construct. It may have escaped Professor Plummer’s notice but most kids are far more interested in playing with toys, turning a cardboard box into a pirate ship, and scanning the horizon for sweet shops, than they are seeking out partners. In other words, they are children, in every way possible, and to therefore claim that childhood is a “historically produced social object” is a nonsense. Going by Plummer’s twisted logic, there should have been no problems with children going down coal mines, up chimneys, working in mills and heavy industry etc. But is precisely because they were children that such terrible practices were ended.

Plummer is not the first paedophile apologist to use this particular argument, and it is deeply seated in the Victorian middle class construct, where children had their childhood stolen from them, were made to dress like adults, and behave not as children but rather as little adults. That of course was in the days when there were no stringent laws governing sexual behaviour. From those days came the saying “Children should be seen but not heard.”, whereas the reality all too often was that children were treated obscene – but not heard. By trying to deny that childhood is indeed a physical and psychological reality, Plummer would therefore seek to return to those days, happily in denial of the damage which was done to millions of children before society took steps to come down heavily upon it.

One of the main thrusts of the conference was that “paedophilia is natural and normal for males”. This is yet one more unscientific claim, for it is not only special pleading for male paedophiles, but it would either completely ignore the incidence of sexual abuse of children by women, or suggest that where it does occur, the female perpetrators alone are deserving of punishment.

Whilst the incidence of female paedophiles is much lesser than that of their male counterparts, it remains very, very real, and none the less damaging to the victims. There are radical feminists who try to claim that female paedophilia does not exist and where it has taken place, there has been a man involved who has been the main perpetrator, and the woman has done his bidding in fear for their life. Many such tried to claim this for Myra Hindley; that she was led on and made afraid by her partner, Ian Brady, as they abducted, sexually molested, tortured and killed five children in the notorious ‘Moors murders’ of 1965. Anyone believing that need only read the transcript of a tape discovered in Brady and Hindley’s house, in which she clearly ordered a little girl to strip naked and derided her as she did so. Again, the paedophile is not driven primarily by sexuality but power.

Of course, another absurdity in this claim is the fact that where couples who abuse children are involved, that the mother will allow her own children to be abused to save herself.  I’ve no doubt there are a minority of such mothers, but would suggest that they are very, very few indeed.  The overwhelming vast majority of mothers would sooner lay down their own lives to protect their children, even undergoing unbearable pain, than allow anyone or anything else to ever harm them in the slightest.

Such claims are also proved false by cases of single women child abusers, where no man is involved. A letter to Forum magazine from a woman named only Mrs JP of Leicester (and who was never traced), and which has since been repeated in many works of sexual psychology, claimed that she was a mother whose husband was often away on business trips. She claimed that as her children sleep naked, she had performed fellatio on her 11 year old son on several occasions, and finally, when he was scared one night she had taken him into her bed and, feigning sleep, had positioned herself so he entered her from behind. That she described the boy often having nightmares has led many psychologists to believe that the writer’s claims were all too real.

A case from the USA recounts that of a 45 year old single woman who expected neighbourhood boys to consider her “mistress without payment”. Her penchant started when she got hooked on heroin and would sleep with up to six boys per night, usually aged between 11 and 15, although younger boys would sometimes be brought along. Although she got herself clean of drugs, and managed to get a job, her habits had not changed and she was eventually convicted of having sex with two boys, one aged 13, the other only 8, after the younger told his parents.

More recent cases included a single mother in Scotland who made her 6 year old daughter suck her breasts while she masturbated, and a single American woman who had seduced a 9 year old neighbourhood boy, who even had his own key to her apartment.

We therefore see that paedophilia does not recognise gender boundaries, and to claim that it does is not only disingenuous, again it is deeply rooted in the denial which is part and parcel of the paedophile mindset. It is actually laughable when one considers it; to even suggest that being of one particular gender, a sexual activity is normal where it is not in another. That does not occur anywhere else in any sexual identity, so why should it pertain to paedophilia? Simply because it does not, because paedophilia is neither natural, nor normal.

In his book Bizarre Sex, renowned sexual psychologist Roy Eskapa affirms that even well-adjusted adults exhibit slight sexual arousal at the sight of naked children, and this is backed up with other studies. The amount of arousal however is so slight as to be imperceptible and most certainly not enough to categorize those tested as paedophiles, nor does this suggest that paedophilia is in any way a natural phenomena. And if the apologists are relying on such findings to support their claims, then they are stretching the point to the limits of incredulity.

Having been molested from the age of four, and anally raped when I was six, my basest reactions to the likes of O’Carroll, Plummer, and their apologist friends, is to have them ‘disappear’ one by one, where they can be beaten to the point of death, when they are pleading to die, only to deny them that death, allow them to recover, then repeat the punishment – and to do that over and over until their bodies can finally take no more. The more intelligent, more human, side of me tells me that I, and we as a society, must never allow ourselves to sink to their level. I am better than them; I am not a bully. Apart from which, where child molesters are caught, I take the same view of that of the famous Nazi hunter, Dr Simon Wiesenthal; that not only must justice be done, it must be seen to be done, openly and held up as an example to others. That is the way a civilized society acts. To do any otherwise is to make ourselves no better than the offenders.

And without for one moment being an apologist for paedophilia, I would opine that there may well be an argument for listening to non-active paedophiles. Whilst many may throw their hands up in horror at this, I would suggest that by doing so, we may very well be able to get them the help they require, and by doing so, we can protect more children from becoming victims. It would certainly be much more helpful than the sensationalist newspaper campaigns which occasionally take place, to ‘out’ paedophiles, which have more to do with increasing readership numbers than justice, and which have in the past led to innocent people being shunned, ostracised and even violently attacked. In one such case a woman doctor had her office burned out, purely because the sign outside read “Paediatrician” – that’s right, someone who actually helps children had her surgery burned out, purely due to a newspaper editor trying to increase sales, mass hysteria and public ignorance.

Offering help to paedophiles is of course a very contentious and controversial issue. Many politicians would be loathe to go near it, for fear of losing their parliamentary seat at the next election. But if it is explained carefully to the electorate that this is a way of protecting children, without just locking people up, out of sight, out of mind (and no, we’re not bringing back the death penalty – ever), at taxpayers expense, then it may well be the only road to go down. It should also be emphasised to the public that many paedophiles are in fact victims of childhood sexual abuse themselves, and are caught in the “cycle of abuse”. Therapy is the only way of breaking that cycle. Heavy-handed methods, public naming, and stirring up lynch mobs can only result in the detrimental effect of driving abusers underground, where they become invisible – and thus much more dangerous to society. Sexual abuse, like all forms of abuse of children, is certainly much more prevalent than many give credence to, and it is way past time all societies brought it out in the open and discussed it, rather than brushing it under the carpet and looking for “quick fixes”, which are not fixes at all.

There are various methods of therapy which could be employed, ranging from aversion therapy, in which the participant is taught to be repelled by their urges, to sexual surrogates, where the participant has contact with another adult, leading up to full sexual intercourse, which teaches that adult sexuality is there to be enjoyed, not to be afraid of.

Neither am I at all naive about paedophiles however. If society is to help them, then they must first admit that they need help, and with some of them, as the aforementioned conference illustrates, that is never going to be easy. As I have said before, and as myself and any other survivor of child sexual abuse can attest to, paedophiles are amongst the most devious and manipulative individuals on the face of this planet, and they are also heavily in denial. Any paedophile who makes a cry for help therefore must not only show they want help, they would have to be prove they are truly contrite and fully admit that they have a problem which they want to be cured of.

And that can only begin by not trying to claim that their urges are in any way natural or normal. Any paedophile who attempts that argument, whatever their gender or sexuality, is deserving of the condemnation of society, and if they are active, the full penalty of law.

As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, this has been my hardest ever article to write. I was abused at a time where children did not speak about it, and even if they did, they were generally not listened to, ignored, or told they were lying. Do not ask me about my childhood – I have blocked the vast majority of it out, even what should be happy memories, because they are tainted with sadness and fear. In the case of my abuser, he died before I could bring him to book, and I have always felt that death cheated me of justice. It has been a long, hard struggle, but I do see myself as a survivor, which I only achieved by reading widely on the subject. By doing so, I was able to assure myself that I was in no way to blame for what was done to me. Nonetheless, almost 50 years later, I still sometimes wake up crying as the demons haunt my dreams, as they no doubt shall do to the end of my days. That is the reality of paedophilia, of the damage it does, and for anyone to claim that to do that to an innocent child is in any way “natural” or “normal” is not only false and disingenuous, it is absolutely no justification for the life sentence I or any other survivor has been given, and which only we survivors know the full enormity of. Indeed, it is but one more deep and hurtful insult to each and every one of us.

And if anyone is repelled or upset by any part of this article, I make absolutely no apologies. It is frankly too important an issue to be careful about avoiding offending the sensitive nature of others.