Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Jimmy Savile, Jersey, BBC and suspects (Part two)

In part two of our exclusive and in-depth interview with former Senior Investigating Officer of the Jersey Child Abuse Investigation Lenny Harper we discuss, and try to fathom out, the culture of concealment surrounding paedophilia, the agenda of the discredited, and disgraced BBC along with the rest of the island's State Media and how they just fail to understand that protecting children should be at the forefront.

Carrying directly on from Part 1 of this interview the subject is on the BBC and how they set an agenda of "News." Not long after Mr. Harper's interview on BBC State Radio was aired, their Headline was that Mr. Harper was calling for an independent Police Force to investigate the Savile allegations in Jersey. Contrary to the impression given to some by the BBC Mr. Harper (as explained in part 1 of this interview) has the upmost respect for the SOJP but knows there will be political interference.

It was the BBC's Headline that set the agenda but to my way of thinking was not the biggest revelation of Mr. Harper's interview with them. He said, live on air, that there are still Child Abuse suspects working in the "care" system in Jersey, surely that was the most frightening, chilling, and "newsworthy" statement he made? I immediately phoned the BBC "News"room in an attempt to point this out but was told that this has been mentioned before and didn't need repeating (or words to that effect).

In light of the latest Savile allegations and the possible culture of concealment within the BBC I could barely believe my ears and had to explain, "Surely the priority should be to protect our children and if there are Child Abusers in our "Care" system then this should be the Headline "News?" I was told if I wasn't happy then I could submit a complaint to the BBC trust!

This is the very attitude that allowed Jimmy Savile, and no doubt countless others, to carry on abusing children. Do/say nothing when you have the ideal opportunity to expose those who are a danger to our children.

The interview (below) also demonstrates  further misinformation put out by the BBC when one could clearly hear the producer of the show frantically saying in Chris stones ear-piece that Home Affairs Minister, Senator Ian Le Marquand, supported a Committee Of Inquiry (into the Child Abuse) when in-fact Senator Le Marquand voted AGAINST a Committee Of Inquiry.

Of course it's not just the BBC who look to be complicit in the suppression of documented evidence and misinformation, according to Mr. Harper, and a growing number of others, the entire local State Media has played its part and ignored the MASSIVE amount of documented evidence, leaked to, and published by, the local Blogs (Jersey's only independent media).

As regular viewers/readers would have come to expect this interview asks the questions that the State Media won't.....and gets the answers. The State Media attempt to set an agenda that is misleading and ducks the real issues as in this case the protection of our children.

Mr. Harper, in his trademark manner, tells it how it is as uncomfortable as that might be for the ruling elite, and the state Media, in Jersey, as well as the paedophiles and those protecting them.

The Blogs are the ONLY place in Jersey where you are going to get the evidence of the Jersey Child Abuse cover up and as Mr Harper explains, the State Media is "conspicuous by its silence." As are Messrs Gradwell and Warcup by theirs.

Part one of this interview can be viewed HERE

Mr. Harper's interview with State Radio can be heard HERE

Monday, 22 October 2012

Jimmy Savile, Jersey, BBC and suspects. (Part 1)

Former Deputy Chief Police Officer and Senior Investigating Officer of Jersey's Child Abuse Investigation, Lenny Harper, speaks to VFC about Jimmy Savile, the Jersey government, judicial system, Police Force and perhaps most importantly suspects in the Child Abuse Investigation STILL employed by the States of Jersey who have never faced justice. Not only are these suspects employed by the States but their position allegedly allows them alarming access to children and vulnerable adults.

Yesterday Mr. Harper was permitted a short interview on BBC State Radio which left a number of listeners with the belief that Mr. Harper was levelling criticism towards the States of Jersey Police by suggesting an independent Police Force should be recruited to investigate the Jimmy Savile case in Jersey.

Not for the first time the BBC had given those listeners the complete wrong impression, as Mr. Harper explains in part one of this in-depth interview, he has nothing but the upmost respect for the SOJP, as a force, and believes the problems lay with the island's "political masters" so we are happy to undo any damage that might have been caused to the reputation of the SOJP by the BBC.

Mr. Harper, in this interview, gives us a chilling account of an alleged suspect in the Child Abuse Inquiry where around a dozen  victims have given a statement against the person, who Mr. Harper tells us, just the mention of his name causes "Absolute Fear"  amongst victims but still remains in a position to harm others.

The Former Senior Investigating Officer goes on to tell us that, in his opinion, "The Victims are the ones who are being targeted by the Jersey Government and the abusers are the ones who are being protected."

What is the real BIG story here, is it that Jimmy Savile abused children in Jersey, or is it that the government allowed, and possibly still allows paedophilia to go unpunished if one has the right connections? Will Jimmy Savile's victims ever get justice? Let's hope so, but what about those who have been abused by the alleged "protected" in Jersey who are still alive and a danger to children, shouldn't our attention be turned to them before it's too late, and those accused never see the inside of a court room?

The BBC appear's to believe the BIG story is that Mr. Harper has suggested an outside Police Force be called in to investigate the Savile allegations but more about that, the BBC's agenda, misinformation and much, much more in part two.

For those who want to listen to the short interview with Mr. Harper on State Radio yesterday it can be found HERE.

To get some much needed factual and impartial journalism reported in Jersey, other than the Blogs, could we firstly thank those who have signed and shared the petition to restore the visa of banned US journalist, Leah McGrath Goodman, and secondly ask to keep spreading the word and it can be signed HERE

Friday, 19 October 2012

Banned U.S. Journalist, Leah McGrath Goodman, Update.

U.S. author and Investigative Journalist, Leah McGrath Goodman, who was banned from entering the UK and Jersey after it became apparent she was investigating the Child Abuse, and possible murder, at Jersey "care" home Haut de la Garenne STILL remains banned. Jersey Immigration has finally admitted, according to Ms Goodman, that the "writers Visa" she was advised to apply for (by Jersey Immigration) doesn't exist! 

Regular readers will be aware that after learning of Ms Goodman's ban and appalling treatment she was allegedly subjected to at the hands of the UK Border Agency and Jersey Immigration, local politician Deputy Trevor Pitman, launched an online petition to raise awareness of Ms Goodman's plight and hopefully bring pressure on the agencies to do the right thing and allow her to continue her work and issue her a visa that DOES exist.

Leah McGrath Goodman has updated her story to the signatories of her/Deputy Trevor Pitman's petition and we re-produce it here.

Jersey Update from Leah McGrath Goodman:

It has been just over a month and the island of Jersey is keenly aware of the progress of this please keep it coming. It is having immense impact. I am with all of you in spirit, although as yet I am still not allowed back in the UK...

Right now, several UK newspapers and media outlets are in touch amid the Jimmy Savile scandal, as revelations emerge daily of his abusing children at the very same Jersey orphanage I am investigating -- Haut de la Garenne.
This lends a great deal of credence the victims' (previously ignored) testimonies of appalling crimes committed at Haut de la Garenne against children across decades by the rich and privileged -- islanders as well as visitors such as Savile.

One reporter for a major London daily told me, "We have been asking ourselves for days why the press did nothing about this...Now that I hear your story about how you were kicked out of the country for investigating it, I know." Jersey's police has stated that it received complaints of Savile's acts against children but did not charge him due to "insufficient evidence." (It remains to be seen what evidence would be sufficient on an island that has no sex offenders registry.)

By not stopping Savile, the authorities effectively stepped aside and allowed him to continue preying on children until his death. The UK now likes to refer to these matters as "in the past" or "historic" or "it happened in a different era."

Really? In Jersey, people accused of horrific crimes against children are still enjoying high-ranking government posts in health and education -- in other words, close to defenseless children. We know their names and we know what they did according to their accusers. But they have never been charged.

Why? In Jersey, if the Attorney General does not agree to apprehend a person, the police cannot apprehend him. There is no appealing that decision. Neat, huh?

Regarding my plight, Jersey Immigration has stated I am quite welcome to return to the island, provided I get a non-existent "Writer's visa." Yes, this visa does not exist. This week, they finally admitted there is no form for such a visa. We are still awaiting a coherent answer as to what they now advise me to do.

While it is hard to believe any of these things could happen in a Western democracy -- let alone on an island that answers to the Queen -- what might be even harder to believe is that so many people have been trampled so many times in trying to effect lasting change, the vast majority of them have given up. After what I have seen, I don't blame them.

But the truth must come out. Help us keep the pressure on and pass this along to a few more people, if you have a chance. Those of you from Jersey, hang in there. For those of you from elsewhere, this is a beautiful island with truly amazing people. It does not deserve anything less than safety for its children -- and the truth.

Hope this finds you and your families well -- and happy autumn.


We ask our readers to support Ms Goodman's struggle with Jersey Immigration and please sign the petition HERE.

We (the good people of Jersey) are sick and tired of Jersey's reputation being dragged through the mud because of a few power crazed nut-cases who are hell bent on keeping the truth buried concerning the horrors that occurred at Haut de la Garenne and other State run institutions on the island .

Banning a Western Journalist from researching the facts will further damage the reputation of this beautiful island which has suffered enough because of a select few.

The victims/survivors of the horrendous Child Abuse deserve to have their story told and Jersey needs to show the world's stage that it is willing to face up to its failings.......Please sign the petition.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Jimmy Savile, Jersey, BBC and Comparisons.

Former Jersey Chief Police Officer Graham Power QPM, who regular readers will know was (illegally?) Suspended from duty while (because?) his Police Force were investigating decades of Child Abuse/Paedophilia that Jersey has now become so (in)famous for has responded to a request from VFC and offers us (exclusively) his thoughts on the comparisons with the Jimmy Savile allegations/enquiries and that of  Mr. Power's experiences with the Jersey Child Abuse ongoing scandal.

There are reports that more than a handful of victims have now come forward who have alleged the late Jimmy Savile abused them while in Jersey and up to 60, or more, victims in total nationwide.

Former Chief Police Officer Graham Power QPM.

I have been asked by the Voiceforchildren blog to make some comment on the current enquiries relating to the late Jimmy Savile. I understand that there is an interest in any parallels which may be drawn between the Savile Enquiry and the Jersey Abuse Enquiry. I am also told that there are some comparisons capable of being made between the actions so far taken by the UK Authorities and a debate in Jersey concerning a proposed Committee of Enquiry into Child Abuse.

Since I left the Police Service I have not, so far as I am aware, pro-actively engaged in any publicity or comment in relation to my time as a serving officer. I have however occasionally been approached by journalists, both from the Citizens Media and the Paid Media, who have asked me direct questions. On some occasions I have declined to comment. In other cases I have offered honest comment where I felt that was in the public interest.

Against this background it is no surprise that I have been approached from a number of sources over recent days asking for comment in respect of the emerging allegations concerning Savile.   For the most part I have said that I know little of any allegations against that person.   He was not someone with whom I had any significant involvement.   I recall that I met him once at an official gathering and that was about the extent of my contact.  

I have however when recently asked, commented on some of the characteristics of the Savile affair and how they compare with some aspects of the Jersey Abuse Enquiry. In particular it appears that Savile’s victims saw him as a rich and powerful person who mixed with Royalty and Prime Ministers. They regarded him as untouchable and felt that anything they said to his detriment would not be believed. These feelings appear to have been confirmed by the experiences of those who did attempt to report the abuse. I have seen a TV interview in which one woman describes how as a young girl, she was living in a residential institution when she was abused by Savile. She protested and reported the matter to staff. The response of the institution was to have her punished for telling lies. The UK authorities have addressed this situation by establishing a robust and independent police enquiry which has made it clear that reports will be taken seriously and properly investigated.

Victims of abuse in Jersey told similar stories.  Their abusers were powerful and well connected.  Any reports which were made were disbelieved or ignored.  Only when the leaders of a Police Enquiry made it clear that they were resolved to get to the truth and would stand no interference from the Jersey Authorities was confidence established and the floodgates, which had held back the truth for decades, finally opened. I have received messages from victims which have said that once I was removed from the Force this confidence was damaged and that some victims and witnesses became reluctant to pursue their allegations. I do not have access to official information which enables me to confirm these reports or otherwise. People living in Jersey are better positioned to judge whether this might be true. 

Another common factor in both enquiries is the extent to which the victims were often from troubled backgrounds.  Even if a case had reached the Courts, it might have been claimed that the victims were not credible witnesses.

There is another common factor in the two investigations in that Savile is now deceased and beyond the reach of the Justice System. The same can be said for some of the suspects in the Jersey investigation.  In both cases victims sometimes gained the confidence to report the abuse only when they felt certain that the abuser could no longer do them any harm. The death of the main suspect does not make the investigation pointless. A thorough investigation may reveal the identities of accomplices.   It might also identify those in authority who should have acted but did not do so.   In both investigations there is evidence that senior people, who had a responsibility for the protection of the vulnerable, failed to act. They must bear a significant share of the blame for what happened and it may still be possible to hold them to account.  It is the lack of any positive intervention, and the failure to prioritise the safety of the vulnerable over the interests of the well-connected and the powerful which is a disturbing feature of both investigations.

I have also been asked to comment about a debate in Jersey regarding a proposed Committee of Enquiry. I find this request harder to address given that I have not been in Jersey for a number of years and I am not a close follower of Jersey news. I do however recall that during the time that I was Chief Officer of the Force the Jersey Government said that a full Committee of Enquiry would be established.   I have not followed closely what has happened since with regard to that issue.

I have however noted the actions taken by the BBC in the UK, and UK Government Departments in the comparable circumstances of the Savile case.  I have seen media reports which have said that the relevant organisations will be establishing enquiries to investigate, among other things, the culture in which the abuse occurred, who knew about it, and what action was taken by those with responsibility.   I have noted that these commitments were given within days of the facts emerging and that we are told that the membership of the enquiries and the terms of reference will be available soon.   These actions seem to me to be entirely consistent with the acceptance of responsibility, integrity, and commitment to the public interest which should be expected from credible government bodies in a civilised 21st century democracy.

Jersey residents are better placed than me to comment on whether their own public authorities have demonstrated commitment to a comparable standard.(END)

The former Police Chief makes some interesting points including "A thorough investigation may reveal the identities of accomplices.   It might also identify those in authority who should have acted but did not do so."

Who in Jersey could have but didn't act? Who are still in positions of power who either abused or covered up abuse noting the former Senior Investigating Officer Lenny Harper told us there are at least 4 that he knows of.

Who were Jimmy Savile's contacts in Jersey? Who invited him over here? Who invited him to Haut de la Garenne? Who "made things happen" over here for Savile?

How is it that the UK institutions put in place an inquiry within DAYS and the Jersey authorities take YEARS? Has the Jersey authorities "demonstrated commitment to a comparable standard?"

Will the BBC's investigation be fit for purpose? Will (if it ever happens) Jersey's Committee Of Inquiry be fit for purpose? Will the cycle of intimidation and threats against Abuse Victims ever be broken? Will those, as a result of the Committee of Inquiry, be held to account who covered up the decades of Child Abuse on this island?

There is a common factor explained by the former Police Chief and that is how victims are too scared to speak out against those who hold positions of power or authority and inevitably these abusers never face justice, perhaps more so in Jersey.

If anybody knows of somebody who is/has either abused or covered up abuse then we encourage them to phone the Metropolitan Police HERE

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Deputy Mike Higgins (Blog TV Guest)

Jersey politician, Deputy Mike Higgins, is the confirmed guest of tonight's live and interactive Blog TV broadcast.

The Deputy will be discussing many issues concerning Jersey and its government, the Child Abuse redress scheme and scandal, the (breakdown in the?)  Rule of Law on the island, voting patterns of our States Members (MP's) and much, much more.

If you have questions, or opinions, on any of the above subjects or subjects you would like to be addressed on the broadcast then come along and take part in the show.

You can watch/take part in the live broadcast at 7pm tonight HERE

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Jersey Senator "I Will Resign."

Senator Francis Le Gresley, who successfully brought a proposition in the States, to overturn the previous Council of Ministers decision NOT to hold a Committee Of Inquiry (COI) into the Jersey Child Abuse atrocities has told VFC Exclusively that he will resign if a fit for purpose Terms Of Reference is not agreed for the (hopefully) up-coming COI.

The Senator who also told us "for me the proposition I brought last year to request the Council Of Ministers to reconsider their decision NOT to have a COI was probably the most important proposition I'll ever bring as a States Member." Clearly demonstrates his unwavering commitment, if not passion, to have a "fit for purpose" COI that will help to bring some kind of closure to this very dark chapter in Jersey's murky History.

From the interview (below) the Senator appears to favour the "Verita" Terms Of reference as a starting block as opposed to whatever it is that Williamson came up with.

We ask Senator Le Gresley that $1m question "just why was Williamson brought in?" A question which only the Chief Minister Gorst can really answer but the "answer" the Chief Minister has given doesn't stack up as the interview reveals.

We await the suggested Terms Of Reference for the Child Abuse COI from the Chief Minister with bated breath. They will be HIS Legacy.

In the meantime we would like to thank Senator Le Gresley for not backing down to any pressure he might be under  to sweep this all under the carpet. For standing by his commitment for a Committee Of Inquiry that will actually serve a purpose. For giving the Abuse Victims/Survivors and the "good" people of Jersey some hope.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Guest Posting From Abuse Survivor and JCLA Chair Carrie Modral.

What a week! 

I have been invited by VFC to submit a guest posting of this past week’s events to which I am grateful as the Blogs seem to be the only place to get the FULL TRUE story out.
Firstly, I would like to clarify that the Jersey Care Leavers Association (JCLA) do not represent or indeed speak for all abuse survivors, our views may not necessarily be the views of others and indeed, we are acutely aware that some abuse survivors have different thoughts on how they would like to see the Committee Of Inquiry (COI) into the “Historic” Child Abuse in Jersey run and we respect that. 

On Monday 24th September, myself and two other members of JCLA along with our trusted JCLA Administrator Jill, attended a meeting with the Chief Minister (CM), Ian Gorst, Chief Executive Officer Mr Richardson and Mr Williamson. Copies of both the Verita and Williamson reports were handed to us at that meeting.  As it happens, I did get chance to read both reports ahead of the meeting and duly arrived armed with my trusty hand written notes.  It was clear from the outset that the CM is in favour of a full COI and that the problem lies with the Council Of Ministers (COM). To say that the meeting went smoothly would be an understatement. Did I lose it, I don’t think so but something snapped inside of me and I was fed up with “pussy footing” around the issue and after a heated discussion, I asked Mr Williamson to withdraw his report. When he declined to do so, I made it clear to the CM that I wanted it formerly noted that I had made that request. 

So we go onto this week’s mainstream media reporting. Both CTV and BBC seem to have turned over a new leaf and have produced some very fair reporting particularly with  VFC being allowed to air his thoughts on radio without interruption from Mathew Price, this has to be a good thing!  And so we go to the JEP.  Firstly, my letter in yesterday’s edition of the JEP was in fact an e-mail that I sent to Ben Queree on Wednesday 26th September following his article published in the JEP on the same day. To be fare to Mr Queree, he did come back to me and apologised if there was any misleading impression from the article and offered to write a clarification in the next edition. I could not trust him to do that and therefore asked him to publish my e-mail in full with an apology for the hurt that may have been caused to the abuse survivors. 

Now we turn to the editorial published on Thursday 27th September which can be read HERE giving a glowing reference to the Williamson report without a single reference to the Verita report and at the same time implying that the abuse survivors will never be satisfied no matter what!. JCLA sent a “right to reply” letter to the JEP on Friday 28th September and it remains to be seen whether or not it will be published.  VFC has kindly agreed to publish the JCLA letter on his Blog this coming Tuesday.

So finally we come to Saturday’s edition of the JEP.  You could have knocked me down with a feather when I read Mr Querees’ article. I must give credit where credit is due and thank him for his excellent piece of work which almost could have been written by any one of the Bloggers and is in total contradiction to Thursday’s EDITORIAL. I reproduce The full script of Mr Querees piece which I have typed up myself and apologise for any grammatical errors.

I end this guest posting with a quote from Mr Queree which just about sums all this up.

"Get it wrong, and the inquiry will clear up nothing, establish nothing, and achieve nothing"

By Ben Queree JEP 29th September 2012

“There are serious questions that merit a serious answer in relation to historical child abuse”

There will have been some people who read this week’s stories on the proposed new tack for the terms of reference of the Committee of Inquiry into historical child abuse and not really understood the significance, turned the page, and read something else.

That’s Ok. Over the few weeks we’ve had a strange run of stories that seem at first glance quite complicated but essentially not that important – turning the ports from the States department to a States owned company the differences between economic forecasts and reality,  rows over the difference between shop prices and freight costs.

The story about the Committee of Inquiry terms of references is entirely different – in that it may not have seemed it but it’s actually very important.  It’s a simple and horrible truth that some children were physically or sexually abused in Jersey care homes, that they were abused by the people who were trusted to look after them, and that not enough was done by the people running various States departments to make sure that they were run properly and by decent people.

That’s not new information and it’s not in dispute.

It’s certainly not new to the victims of abuse, some of whom have been living in their abusers’ shadows for decades. But the significant work for the Committee of Inquiry is to go beyond those established facts and look at what went so badly wrong in the Management and policing of these homes that was allowed to happen and find out who was responsible. And it’s precisely this point that the established facts start to fade, and things start to get more insubstantial.

It’s certainly true to say that more should have been done to look after those in care and that it appears that complaints were ignored, hushed up, or concealed. And indeed, you don’t have to look too fare online to find a vast literature of those who say that they know exactly what happened, and exactly who was responsible.

But that’s not enough.

No community – Jersey or anywhere else can afford to leave questions like this open, or to imagine (as former Chief Minister Terry Le Sueur appeared to do) that a formal apology in the States Chamber and a compensation scheme to victims would bring the matter to a close.  These are serious questions that merit a serious answer. And given the years of mistrust and suspicion over the legacy of abuse – some of it reasonable, and some of it not – they are answers that are going to have to be provided independently, by someone with no links to the Island, no history here, and no axe to grind.

A Committee of Inquiry, whatever its terms of reference, is the perfect mechanism for this – it has the power to demand the attendance of witnesses who don’t want to talk, and to demand the production of files and papers.
For the avoidance of doubt, those powers are incredibly unlikely to be used to summon victims of abuse to give evidence in public if they don’t want to – they are far more likely to be used to call the abusers or those responsible for the management of the homes.

And given the suspicion that exists, and given the depth of feeling, and given the importance of the subject, the suggestion of social work consultant Andrew Williamson that the work be divided up, and the Committee of Inquiry effectively limited to events before 1994, was just not right.

Any attempt to limit the timescale of the inquiry by the States – however well intentioned will leave its ultimate findings subject to being dismissed, most importantly by the victims and survivors of abuse, but also by those who seek to make political capital from the subject.

The proposal by Mr Williamson undermines the spirit of an independent inquiry by seeking to set out what evidence it should look at.

And it’s for that reason that getting the terms of reference – essentially, the questions that the committee will set out to answer – correct, is the key to the whole exercise.

The point of an independent committee is to hand over control, and the only way to truly do that is to not bind their hands.

Only then can everyone on all sides commit to the process, rather than waiting for the outcome and seeing if it matches their preconceptions.

Get the terms of reference right, and the committee could bring an independent, authoritative voice that will establish firmly what happened, and bring some measure of closure and justice to the victims of abuse.

Get them right and the committee will have the credibility to earn the trust of those who were so badly let down by the committees of the past, and will have the authority to release its findings, no matter what they are, and no matter what they say.

Get them right and the whole Island community can get clear answers to the questions that are simply too big to continue to leave hanging.

Get it wrong, and the inquiry will clear up nothing, establish nothing, and achieve nothing.  END