By Mark Ellis
A stunning report released by an independent commission in the UK found that as many as 1,400 minors in the town of Rotherham – some as young as 11 – were beaten, raped, and trafficked over a 16-year period by men of Pakistani Muslim heritage.
Now a BBC program charges that a researcher who blew the whistle on the shocking scandal more than 10 years ago was sent to an “ethnic and diversity course” by child protection authorities after she revealed the ethnic background of the abusers, according to a story in Frontpage Magazine.
The researcher, who wished to remain anonymous, met victims at a youth outreach organization set up by the local government. “Some of the stories that I heard very early on were just so graphic that I don’t think I will ever forget them,” she told the BBC.
“I was collecting data on who the perpetrators were, what cars they were using, their grooming methods, their offending methods, and what I was also collecting, was information on professional responses,” she said.
In 2002, she documented the first 270 cases of sex abuse and trafficking. When she shared her findings with government officials, she revealed that the chief perpetrators of the abuse were men from the British Pakistani community.
This revelation got her into trouble. “They said you must never refer to that again, you must never refer to Asian men,” she told the BBC. “And [the] other response was to book me on a two-day ethnicity and diversity course to raise my awareness of ethnic issues.”
The day after she submitted her report of the abuse, someone got into the offices of the youth outreach organization and stole her back-up data for the report. The researcher alleges it was “an inside job” because there was no evidence of a break-in.
Her data was the only thing stolen from the office. The research report she authored was never published and according to the BBC program local officials even attempted unsuccessfully to get the researcher fired.
“I was subjected to the most intense personal hostility,” the researcher revealed. “There were threats made from a range of sources. I’ve never seen back-covering like it, and I still feel extremely angry about that.”
Some of her findings may have motivated the theft. One chapter noted the “alleged indifference towards, and ignorance of, child sexual exploitation on the part of senior managers” at the youth organization.
Blame for the exploitation was “continuously placed on young people’s shoulders rather than with the suspected abusers,” she alleged.
“Had this report been treated with the seriousness it merited at the time by both the police and the council, the children involved then and later would have been better protected and abusers brought to justice,” the 2002 draft added.
Prof. Alexis Jay, who wrote the independent report on the scandal released recently, described the “appalling nature” of the abuse the children suffered. “They were raped by multiple perpetrators, trafficked to other towns and cities in the north of England, abducted, beaten, and intimidated,” Prof. Jay stated.
“There were examples of children who had been doused in petrol and threatened with being set alight, threatened with guns, made to witness brutally violent rapes and threatened they would be next if they told anyone. Girls as young as 11 were raped by large numbers of male perpetrators.”
South Yorkshire Police have promised to bring the perpetrators to justice, and have increased the number of investigators on the case from 10 to 45, according to Frontpage Magazine.
“A number of large-scale investigations looking at historical and current sexual offences in Rotherham are ongoing and involve a large number of victims,” a police spokesman said.