Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Man Charged in Jersey Rape – Things Heat Up Over Haut de la Garenne

The 68-year-old man we told you about yesterday has been formally charged with rape and sexual assault.

Claude Donnelly assaulted the 12-year-old girl between 1971 and 1974. He is also charged with gross indecency.

The rape and assault charges were made by investigators looking into the abuse scandal at Haut de la Garenne, but do not relate to the home itself.

Sky News reports: The charge sheet states the alleged rape took place at Roseville Street, St Helier, between March 1971 and March 1972, against the 12-year-old, identified as Witness A.

Donnelly is alleged to have indecently assaulted the same girl between March 1971 and March 1974 when she was aged between 12 and 15.

The third charge claims Donnelly made the girl carry out an act of gross indecency on him between the same dates.

Donnelly has not entered a plea and is scheduled to appear in court today.

Police in Jersey also have issued an arrest warrant for an additional suspect in connection with sexual assaults committed at Haut de la Garenne.

At the Sates assembly meeting yesterday, tensions began to spill over.

Speaking about DCO Lenny Harper’s handling of the investigation, Deputy Sean Powell said Harper was inappropriate when he told the media back in February, they had found what appeared to be the partial remains of a child at Haut de la Garenne. Powell was referring to the skull fragment found.

Senator Wendy Kinnard, minister for home affairs, said Harper’s comments were totally appropriate as the skull fragm
ent was found under suspicious circumstances.

The Guardian reports: At the states meeting yesterday it was also revealed that the law officers' department, Jersey's equivalent of the Crown Prosecution Service, had turned down requests by the inquiry team for search warrants. Police sources yesterday said they had been refused three times when applying for permission to search the headquarters of the sea cadets in St Helier, where abuse has been alleged. The search was eventually carried out with help from officers from the mainland.

A source close to Harper yesterday said he had been so "severely and wilfully obstructed" in his investigation that he had come within "hours" of resigning. But the source stressed that Harper's retirement in August was unrelated and had been planned for some time.