ROCHDALE Council has been accused of blocking a major child abuse inquiry, Politicalite can exclusively reveal.
Campaigners from Parents Against Grooming, a grassroots organisation of parents who have been affected by the child grooming scandal in Rochdale have been consistently campaigning for a full inquiry into the role played in covering up abuse by Rochdale Borough Council – abuse which allegedly included victims who had been found dead “in mysterious circumstances.”
Earlier this year, the former Labour Leader of Rochdale Council, Richard Farnell, was heavily criticised by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) panel which said that his claim to have no knowledge of abuse allegations at Knowl View school and the Cambridge House hostel, between the early 1960s and mid-1990s “defied belief”.
The group thought they had found an ally in the Council’s Deputy Leader, Sara Rowbotham (Lab) who worked from 2003 to 2014 as Rochdale’s crisis intervention team coordinator and made hundreds of referrals to police which were dismissed.
Eventually, she persuaded the Greater Manchester Police to investigate the issue seriously and nine men were convicted in 2012 of abuse and the story became a powerful BBC documentary, Three Girls.
The struggle for a full inquiry to see that justice is done has however continued and Sara Rowbotham has found herself in an ideal position to bring about change. However, far from bringing about change, she has stood in its way.
In a recording obtained by Politicalite, Rowbotham is heard saying that she told another Labour Councillor, Jackie Beswick that children were being abused in her ward but Beswick did “fuck all” about it.
Concerning Lynne Brosnan (Labour Councillor Kingsway Ward), Rowbotham says that Brosanan said to her “We all knew about Cyril Smtih, we all knew about Cyril Smith everybody did”. Challenged on why she didn’t do anything and by her inaction being complicit in child abuse, Rowbotham replied “yeah and then and then they come out like ambulance chasers”.
Parents Against Grooming told Politicalite that they have comprehensive evidence of the cover-up and when they asked Rowbotham if she would stand by their side, she replied that she worried them taking the evidence to the media would make “engaging” with the council harder.
Billy Howarth, one campaigner said he was “heartbroken” by Sara Rowbotham’s stance “we thought we had found the one person in Rochdale council who had a genuine heart for Survious” he said.
Mainstream media outlets refuse to publish their story unless Rowbotham is present. They are calling for a full inquiry by the council or an independent body to expose the truth of what happened in Rochdale and plan to stand candidates in next years local elections targeting certain Labour councillors.
UKIP spokesman for Families and Children Alan Craig, told Politicalite: “Billy Howarth and Dan Wolstencroft have worked courageously on behalf of the many CSA survivors in Rochdale, yet they have been let down and dumped on by the Labour-run Council.”
“I’m delighted they’ve had the guts to publish the evidence of the betrayal and broken promises, Rochdale Council needs to be exposed for its deceitful practices and its lack of compassion for victims.”
Mr Craig added: ” We can’t wait for the local elections in May when UKIP aims to punish the Labour Party for its self-serving political corruption!”
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