A former social services chief is among three politicians with convictions for child sexual abuse in a town where up to a thousand young people are thought to have been groomed and abused by mainly Asian gangs. (They really mean Muslim!)
An independent inquiry has begun into allegations of 40 years of child sexual abuse by men in Telford, Shropshire.
Now it has emerged that former county councillor Graham Bould groomed a 15-year-old boy in the early 1980s after meeting him at a church group. The 60-year-old is the third politician to be exposed as a convicted child sex offender in the West Midlands town. Bould was arrested in October 2000 and admitted two indecent assaults on the boy. He stood down after 18 years as a councillor. But he avoided a jail sentence and was handed a 12-month community rehabilitation order at Wolverhampton Crown Court in 2001.
Anglican vicar and former county councillor Rev Michael Keen, 78, assaulted the same boy, also during the 1980s. He had previously sat on the West Mercia police force's board. Keen was jailed for 15 months in July 2001 for two indecent assaults following a trial at Wolverhampton Crown Court.
The third abuser, parish councillor Graham White, 75, took indecent images of a 14-year-old girl. In 2004 White admitted four counts of taking indecent photographs of a minor. He was given a three-year rehabilitation order, ordered to complete a sex offenders programme and had his name added to the Sex Offenders Register for five years.
...it is feared neither Shropshire County Council nor the police carried out an investigation into the men’s conduct – fuelling fears of an institutional culture of child abuse.
Bould was in charge of social services at a time when child sexual exploitation in the town was rife.
Council paperwork seen by the Mirror shows that in the late 1990s – though not specifically saying it was during Bould’s tenure – social workers became aware of the growing issue but claimed not to “understand” the problem.
Relatives of murdered abuse victim Lucy Lowe, 16, were left reeling after learning one of the politicians had been jailed and two others had admitted their guilt. Victim Lucy was killed in a house fire in 2000 – started by the sex abuser who made her pregnant when she was 14. Her sister and mother died in the fire too.
Lucy’s shocked uncle Ed Lowe, 50, said: “It’s mindblowing. It’s disgraceful. We always wanted to know why social services didn’t get involved in dealing with Lucy’s abuse. Now we have even more questions.”
The revelations come just a week after authorities in the town were forced into a U-turn and voted to commission an independent inquiry into child grooming.
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