Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Were Warnings of Abuse Simply Ignored?

Last week, Senator Stuart Syvret implored readers to watch BBC’s Panorama. The program aired last night. Panorama was given exclusive access to the Haut de la Garenne site and police investigation.

I watched the program this morning and was sickened and appalled at how widespread the abuse and cover-up appears to be. The program may be seen here: PANORAMA

We now know that charges of abuse have been leveled against at least three childcare homes in Jersey:

Haut de la Garenne
Blanche Pierre

We told you yesterday about Jane and Alan Maguire and the Blanche Pierre home they ran for ten years. They presently live in a remote village in southern France and refuse to speak with the media.

Now, some additional names to add the ever-growing list:

Anton Skinner – Jersey’s Head of Children’s Services, received several reports of abuse and unbelievably allowed those accused to resign or move into other positions within the childcare system!

Colin Tilbrook - Headmaster of Haut de la Garenne during the 1960’s. Tilbrook’s foster daughter has publicly accused him of raping her when she was ten-years-old.

The BBC revealed: Mr. Moed, who worked at the home as a junior house parent in the 1960s, told of how he tried to raise the alarm about the headmaster Colin Tilbrook's abuse of children - but claims his warnings were ignored.

He said: "I saw him in the dormitory one evening walking with a pillow under his arm. And I asked a colleague who he was and what he was doing and they said 'Oh that's Tilbrook, he carries the pillow so you can't hear the girls screaming'."

Mr. Moed was then told that Tilbrook had recently got a 14-year-old girl pregnant and that she'd had to have an abortion. Mr. Moed says that he went to the police - but that he was advised not to talk about what he had seen.

Tilbrook died 20 years ago.

A side-note: Jersey has no sex abuser registry as they do not have the resources to monitor the more than 120 offenders who reside in Jersey.

As the investigation continues to slowly move forward, Senator Stuart Syvret writes on his blog: I’m nearing the end of my work in this matter – or, at least - as much of it as I can endure.

At 2.30 Monday morning, I e-mailed my 25 page report – plus supporting evidence - to Jack Straw MP. He is the UK Justice Minister – and thus has constitutional responsibility - and powers - for the good administration of justice in Jersey.

While many alleged villains in this scandal are being identified, many heroes have emerged also:

First and foremost, the victims. For their courage and dignity in coming forward and exposing the ugly truth.

Senator Stuart Syvret for his caring and tireless efforts that have brought focus on the failure of the system.

DCO Lenny Harper, for his unwavering determination in conducting this most difficult investigation.

The BBC’s Panorama crew, for their research and reporting and their assistance with the investigation.