A Home Office official who investigated the sexual exploitation of children in Rotherham accused the council of being involved in the unauthorised removal of information from her office.
Her report in 2002 suggested there were then more than 270 victims of the scandal, which was finally exposed last week with revelations that at least 1,400 children were abused from 1997 to 2013.
She told Panorama that she had sent her report to both the council and the Home Office on a Friday, but when she returned on Monday she found her office had been raided…
The Home Office researcher, who was not named by Panorama, also said she had been accused of being insensitive when she told one official that most of the perpetrators were from Rotherham’s Pakistani community.
A female colleague talked to her about the incident. “She said you must never refer to that again – you must never refer to Asian men.
“And her other response was to book me on a two-day ethnicity and diversity course to raise my awareness of ethnic issues.”
The Home Office researcher said that at one point the council tried to get her sacked and the report was never published.
The perpetrators had no such squeamishness about mentioning race:
In 2003, aged 13, [victim] Emma went to the police who recorded her evidence on video.
Describing the abuse, she told police: “They were pushing me head on the floor and that and grabbing me neck and stuff and pulling me by the hair.
“I were saying that I didn’t want to do it and stuff and they said: ‘Course you want to do it’, and that ‘we don’t like girls saying that’.
“He said that I were a white bitch and that he’d had enough of me and he punched me in the mouth.”
[T]he Labour party suspended four Labour councillors in the town.
Roger Stone, who had already resigned as council leader, Gwendoline Ann Russell, Jahangir Akhtar and Shaukat Ali were suspended pending investigation after Ed Miliband said last week that large numbers of young people in Rotherham were systematically abused and let down by those who should have protected them.
Akhtar stepped down from his role as deputy leader of Rotherham council and vice-chair of the police and crime panel when it was reported that he knew about a relationship between an underage girl and man who had abused her. In November he said he had always maintained his “absolute innocence of the scurrilous allegations”…
“We’ve acted as we can to have the accountability and transparency we need in Rotherham,” Tristam Hunt, the shadow education secretary, told Sky News. “We know there was a culture of denial … and we are acting to have a clean sweep.”