research and the many investigations into child sexual abuse share a common,
and unfortunate theme, they can be broadly divided into three categories:
criminal investigations by the police looking into allegations of abuse, investigations
into cover ups and corruption surrounding child sexual abuse and the nation’s
overarching Statutory Inquiry Into Child Sexual Abuse, which covers every area
and hopes to offer insight on how government bodies failed vulnerable children.
Whilst the investigations are in some ways separate, there is considerable
overlap, often as a result of individuals being sighted or noted as present in
one or more locations and venues where abuse was alleged or known to have taken
Metropolitan Police-led Operation Fairbank, which is now made up of four other
Operations all stemming from it, began in secret in 2012. Rather than being a
formal inquiry, it was set up to try to assess the extent of allegations made
about abuse which occurred at Elm Guest House near Barnes, London during the
1970s and 1980s. The investigation shed
light on allegations which involved senior politicians and in January 2013, Cyril Smith, a
former Liberal MP who died in 2010, was implicated as a senior figure involved
in sexually abusing boys at Elm Guest House. Following the allegations against
Cyril Smith, police started to investigate claims that a network of high
profile individuals, later labelled as “VIP Paedophiles” had been operating a
paedophile ring in the 1980s, at a children’s
home in Richmond, south west London.
men who had been identified as visitors to Elm Guest House were later arrested
and convicted of multiple sexual offences against children.
As a result of
allegations made during Operation Fairbank, Operation Fernbridge, a full
criminal investigation, was set up. Several people were arrested on suspicion
of sexual offences against children at Grafton Close, the same children’s home
in Richmond which was investigated by Operation Fairbank. Two men were awaiting
trial in January 2015, however one of the men, John Stingemore, who had worked
for Richmond Council, was found dead at his home that same month.The other
McSweeney, a Catholic priest, was tried and found guilty in February 2015 of
child sexual abuse.
serving three years in jail. Operation Fairbank is now closed, however
allegations which arose from it, were moved to other ongoing investigations
like Operation Athabasca, and are being looked at.
Further to allegations
which centered on children’s homes, concerns were also raised about child
sexual abuse which was claimed to have taken place during the 70s and 80s at
Dolphin Square Estate, in Pimlico, London and other locations at the hands of
powerful men, including high profile politicians, army officials and lawyers. Some
claims involve the death of children, and sex parties which were alleged to
have taken place at Dolphin Square. Due to these claims, Operation Midland was
established in November 2014 and is
trying to locate the bodies of those children alleged to have been murdered,
missing at the time.
persons, or VIPs, have become an integral part of these ongoing child abuse investigations,
the most infamous celebrity involved being, arguably, Jimmy Savile. As such,
Operation Yewtree has been tasked with the sole aim of investigating the extent
of Savile’s sexual offences against children and their connection to other such
offences. The criminal probe focuses on three lines of inquiry: claims against
Savile, claims against Savile and others, and claims against others. Launched
in October 2012, the investigation uncovered allegations against Max Clifford, Rolf Harris and Dave Lee Travis. Both
Max Clifford and Rolf Harris have since been sentenced and jailed for
sexual offences against children.
Dave Lee Travis was given a suspended sentence of three months. In conjunction with Operation Yewtree, and due to the far reaching
nature of the allegations against Jimmy Savile, three further investigations
were set up: the Savile NHS Inquiry, BBC Inquiry and the Department for
Due to the involvement and placement of high
profile individuals within the many reports of child sexual abuse during this
time, a growing concern over the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE), a movement to legalise sexual intercourse with children supported by some
politicians and other government officials, and its part to play in the
allegations surfaced. In order to address these concerns, Operation Cayacos was
launched. This investigation focuses upon allegations of a paedophile ring
linked to the late Peter Righton, who was a founding member of PIE. To date,
one person has been arrested and convicted under Operation Cayacos: Charles Napier was jailed in 2014 for 13 years, for
child sexual abuse. Napier was a serving Treasurer for the
Paedophile Information Exchange.
Investigations into child
sexual abuse have highlighted the need to look at nation-wide responses to
abuse and how this phenomenon is processed. Police inertia and government
department reticence to process historic allegations of child sexual abuse have
been identified as recurring themes within child sexual abuse claims, and are
now being addressed in a spate of Inquiries.
The Pallial Inquiry has been tasked with looking
at child sexual abuse that took place in children’s homes in North Wales. The
Inquiry published an update on its findings on 29 April 2013, which set out a
total of 140 allegations of abuse at 18 children’s care homes in North Wales
between 1963 and 1992. One man, who was the owner of several children’s
residential homes in the Wrexham area, has since been convicted of 33 counts of
sexual abuse against 19 boys and one girl, aged between 7 and 15. For his crimes, John Allen was sentenced to life imprisonment
in November 2014.A further 12 people are to stand trial for various offences, in 2015.