As the Jersey Establishment (and parts of its media) has recently upped the smear campaign against former top cop and Senior Investigating Officer (SIO) of Jersey's Child Abuse Investigation (Operation Rectangle). Lenny Harper has (reluctantly) issued a brief response (below) to some of the criticisms levelled against him and makes a couple of observations of his own.
For those following Jersey's ongoing Child Abuse Committee of Inquiry (COI), you will be aware that "Interested Parties" (IP's) were recently given the opportunity to make final submissions, to the Inquiry Panel, based on the evidence given to the COI by witnesses/Survivors/Victims etc.
As reported HERE by Rico Sorda the Jersey Establishment took (abused?) this opportunity to carry out an all out attack on those who lifted the lid on Jersey's dirty secret(s), exposed the scale of paedophilia on the island, and attempted to bring the Survivors/Victims something close to "justice." This attack was dutifully regurgitated by the State Media, and as far as we are aware, totally unchallenged.
Response from former SIO Lenny Harper.
"The past few weeks at the Committee of Inquiry into Child Abuse in Jersey has seen a succession of closing statements by various people and organisations. I chose not to present a closing statement as I believe that I said all I had to say in my evidence and that a further statement, which of necessity would have had to include rebuttals of some of the nonsense written about myself, would only further divert attention away from the victims/survivors and also detract from the main issues. These of course, being the abuse suffered by innocent children at the hands of the States of Jersey, and the disgraceful treatment handed out to them when they tried to report that abuse.
It did not come as a surprise to me, nor I suspect, to any of the victims/survivors or those who have been following the inquiry evidence, that once again, many of those failed organisations or individuals who were implicated in the actions of those organisations, totally ignored the suffering of victims or at best paid lip service to it. Instead they launched a repeat of the attacks on myself and others who had tried, albeit unsuccessfully, to obtain some measure of justice for those victims. Once again, the plight of the innocent victims took second place to an attempted character assassination of the people who had challenged them and refused to give in to their bullying. The same sort of bullying I notice, to which the Inquiry team were subjected to in the very recent past. It may be now that the Inquiry knows exactly the sort of treatment we were talking about when we said that the Jersey establishment came for whoever dared to stand up against them.
As I stated, I do not wish to present a new rebuttal of all the nonsense which would only entail an extension of the slanging match and erode further the focus on the abuse of children. However, there are two factually incorrect assertions made against me which show the desperate nature and intent of the establishment response to being caught out, and I will briefly mention those.
One of my successors, Mr Gradwell, made part of his closing statement, an allegation that myself and a well known and respected BBC journalist were in a corrupt relationship and that I had been giving him “off the record” briefings during which confidential police information was passed to him. Let me say straight away that nothing improper took place between myself and that BBC journalist. I did indeed meet him away from the environment of formal press briefings, always in public places, and never to discuss information he should not have had. Such meetings are a common occurrence. Indeed, the journalist when told of Mr Gradwell’s ridiculous claims contacted me and during the conversation confirmed that he and Mr Gradwell had also met at a service station in the UK where a similar briefing took place. It seems just a little hypocritical of Mr Gradwell to mention one without the other.
The other matter was the statement by counsel for the States of Jersey police claiming that the force now regretted appointing me to the investigation. My first impulse was to say well, of course they did. It exposed levels of abuse which for one reason or another had been suppressed in the past. However, I then saw the bizarre side of it. No one anywhere near the SOJP now had any part in appointing me. Graham Power appointed me initially, and then on the advice of the UK ACPO Homicide Working Group, reinforced that appointment on a full time basis. As far as I am aware, Mr Power has not been asked that question. Why state that you regret a decision you played absolutely no part in? It can only have been a ruse to raise further sensational headlines in a media only too willing to swallow it whole.
The SOJP lawyer claimed I had “done the victims a disservice.” Perhaps I did. They do not seem to be in much of a better position now than before the investigation I was part of. However, I have not heard it from any of them and I would pay more heed to the words of the victims/survivors than to the mouthpiece of an establishment trying to deflect from the issues.
These closing statements we have been listening to should have been an opportunity to focus closely on the abuse suffered by innocent children, abuse which has had far reaching implications in the adult lives of those treated so badly. Instead, once again, those victims and their suffering have been largely ignored or marginalised. Elements of the establishment have again turned their invective on myself and others who were doing their best to obtain justice for the victims.
This should not be about us. It was never supposed to be. The agenda of the inquiry was hi-jacked by desperate people who sought to protect their reputations at the expense of those who had been abused and ignored. I sincerely hope that the inquiry when coming to report will realise the reason for the diversionary tactics and blatant disregard of the very people that we should all have been trying to help.
Following decades of this abuse being ignored and even encouraged it seems to me that even now, the victims/survivors are in no better position than they were. The Jersey establishment and their friends in sections of the local media are still attempting to hide their failings rather than facing up to what went wrong. They are still attacking those who seek to challenge those failings. It does not affect me greatly here in the UK in retirement. My heart goes out to those in Jersey and elsewhere who still have to live with the ramifications of the vile abuse they were subjected to.
As Mr. Harper has explained; It is (or should be) about Victims/Survivors of heinous crimes committed against them as children and how it shouldn't be able to happen again........It's Not......And it CAN.