The Underreported Pervasiveness of Systemic Child Abuse
One of the most underreported stories of the past year, at least in the states, has been the uncovering of systemic child abuse, including sex trafficking, in places like Rotherham and Westminster. What is coming to the surface now has been known, by some, for decades. That second link is a Business Insider piece about how this network of influential child rapists kept the lid from blowing off back in the 80’s. From the link:
On Saturday, Aug. 2, 1982, the Daily Express led its front page with a shocking story: Police were investigating a “vice ring” allegedly involving at least 30 prominent individuals, including senior MPs, staff from Buckingham Palace, lawyers, doctors, and City businessmen.
The news prompted feverish speculation in the months following the story’s publication. Attention quickly focused on Elm Guest House, an otherwise nondescript Edwardian house near Barnes, in southwest London.
So what happened? Nothing. Apparently back then (like now) national security was a useful excuse to protect wealthy, powerful people. More from the link:
Seven days after the original story was published, the Daily Mail followed up with one of its own. This time the story explicitly mentioned “an alleged brothel in South London” at which “an address book which lists prominent individuals” was allegedly found. Although four people were charged “in connection with…unlawful activities”, including the guest house owners Haroon Kasir and his wife Carole, none of the prominent individuals were named nor is it reported that they were questioned.
In fact, the police denied that the list mentioned in the Daily Express article and Daily Mail even existed. According to a short news story in The Times, published in early September 1982, Scotland Yard told the paper that “no list of brothel clients had been passed to senior detectives or to the Special Branch” and that “no MPs had been questioned”.
From that point on the story appeared to go quiet, with many assuming that the lack of evidence to substantiate the claims has caused it to run out of steam.
However, two former newspaper editors at the time have now come forward alleging that security services served them with warnings not to publish information relating to the role of powerful individuals in child sex abuse in 1984. The so-called D-notices claimed that the information relating to the abuse might damage national security, according to an article published in The Observer.
One of the editors alleges that he was accosted by police over a dossier passed to him by former Labour cabinet minister Barbara Castle, which reportedly implicated 16 MPs along with senior policemen, headteachers, and clergy. The allegations are in line with those made in July to the Mail by Don Hale, the editor of Castle’s local newspaper the Bury Messenger. Hale claimed that a “heavy mob” of Special Branch officers seized the dossier in a 1984 raid of the paper’s office.
I’ve written a few posts on this topic, like this one and this one. Stuff like Johnny Gosch and the Franklin Union Scandal is usually just relegated to the realm of conspiracy theory. But it’s getting harder to keep it there, especially when a registered sex offender billionaire with connections implicates people like Prince Andrew in the abuse of underage girls. I went with the Washington Post for the link because it opens with such a lovely description of the playground where systemic abuse occurs:
Overlooking the Atlantic’s azure waters along the coast of Palm Beach, Fla., a seemingly endless line of megamansions hide behind tall walls. There, some of the planet’s richest people play host to glamorous balls and parties. But in one of those houses, tucked away on El Brillo Way and once guarded by winged gargoyles, such glamour collided with scandal.
The estate belonged to New York financier Jeffrey Epstein — a sex offender once linked with former president Bill Clinton, Nobel Prize-winning scientists, Kevin Spacey and British royalty. A stream of young girls allegedly flitted in and out of the house in the mid-aughts, attending naked pool parties and, police records showed, dispensing massages to Epstein and other guests.
Prince Andrew was allegedly one of the house’s visitors. On Friday, the Duke of York was named in a federal lawsuit filed against Epstein, whom the FBI once reportedly linked to 40 young women. Filed in 2008 in the Southern District of Florida, the $50 million lawsuit claimed Epstein had a “sexual preference and obsession for underage minor girls … gained access to primarily economically disadvantaged minor girls in his home, sexually assaulted these girls.”
Sexual abuse is a jagged rock thrown into a serene body of water, and the ripples reach across generations. It’s also more pervasive than most of us dare to imagine—because why would we?
To stop it, that’s why.
And the first step is to admit we have a problem.
Locally, there are some small steps that can be made to address our state’s inadequate ability to keep kids safe when it’s clear from reports a child is at risk. There was an AP investigation recently, which spanned 8 months, and Montana did not fare well in the assessment. From the link:
Nowhere was the AP’s challenge steeper than Montana, where the state’s confidentiality law allows the child welfare agency to operate with impunity. The AP discovered the Department of Public Health and Human Services’ involvement in Mattisyn Blaz’s short life, and her death, only by examining hundreds of pages of court files from the criminal trial of her father.
The state makes public only the number of children who died from maltreatment in a given year. Officials said state law prohibits them from releasing details on the number of children who died after having a prior history with child protective services.
Department spokesman Jon Ebelt acknowledged Montana law conflicts with federal disclosure requirements and said officials would seek a change in state law to allow for the disclosure of more information.
Maybe our Montana legislators can take a look at how to improve our state’s ability to protect the kids the state is already aware of. It may not stop billionaires who allegedly received three 12 year old girls from France as a birthday gift, but it may stop other kids in abusive situations from being killed by the adults responsible for raising and nurturing them.