The Corner

Rotherham Council on Child Abuse Scandal: Never Happened, Overblown, Not Our Problem

In August, U.K. professor Alexis Jay spearheaded a report contending that the local government, child-social-services agency, and police department of Rotherham, in Great Britain’s South Yorkshire, had ignored at least 1,400 instances of child sexual exploitation between 1997 and 2013, primarily because the perpetrators were Muslim men of Pakistani heritage.

This week, another report corroborated those findings — and found that, since August, the Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council (RMBC) has largely spent its time disputing Jay’s findings, ignoring accusations from likely victims, and avoiding action against perpetrators.

In the “Report of Inspection of Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council,” Louise Casey, director general of the government’s Troubled Families Unit, writes:

Upon arriving in Rotherham, these I thought were the uncontested facts. My job was to conduct an inspection and decide whether the Council was now fit for purpose.

However this was not the situation I encountered when I reached Rotherham. Instead, I found a Council in denial. They denied that there had been a problem, or if there had been, that it was as big as was said. If there was a problem they certainly were not told – it was someone else’s job. They were no worse than anyone else. They had won awards. The media were out to get them.

“The Council’s culture is unhealthy: bullying, sexism, suppression and misplaced ‘political correctness’ have cemented its failures,” writes Casey, further condemning the Council for “a culture of covering up uncomfortable truths, silencing whistle-blowers and paying off staff rather than dealing with difficult issues.”

Casey’s findings confirm and expand the notion of paralyzing political correctness. She quotes remarks from a variety of involved parties:

“We weren’t allowed to hold forums near pubs because it might upset the Muslim people.” — A former officer . . .

“They (the politicians) wanted to use any other word than Asian males. They were terrified of [the impact on] community cohesion.” — A current officer . . .

“I got my knuckles rapped by [manager] on that occasion for mentioning Asian taxi drivers… she had been told [what I’d said] was controversial and not to mention ethnicity.” — A youth worker . . .

“They were running scared of the race issue… There is no doubt that in Rotherham this has been a problem with Pakistani men for years and years… People were scared of being called racist.” — A former police officer . . .

“The number one priority was to preserve and enhance the [Pakistani heritage] community – which wasn’t an unworthy goal but it wasn’t right at the time. It was difficult to stand up in a meeting and say that the perpetrators were from the Pakistani Heritage community and were using the taxi system – even though everyone knew it.” — A former key partner

Writes Casey: “Rotherham Council, rather than addressing or investigating the abuse of girls and the suggested failings of the Council and police, preferred to ignore what was being reported and declare it was untrue with no apparent grounds for doing so.”

In the wake of Casey’s report, the entire cabinet of the RMBC has announced its intention to resign.

I wrote back in August:

The magnitude of Rotherham leaders’ dereliction of duty is staggering — and it is a direct consequence of political correctness. Moreover, the same thing is likely happening throughout England. What, exactly, has to happen before we can talk about that?

The Casey Report shows just how deep the rot of political correctness can go.

Ian Tuttle — Ian Tuttle is the former Thomas L. Rhodes Journalism Fellow at the National Review Institute.

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