Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Haut de la Garenne’s Lenny Harper Strikes Back

Lenny Harper and his team have been handling the herculean task of the child abuse investigation in Jersey with dedication and perseverance. They have also encountered increasingly vicious smear attacks by some of the press and politicians. Harper is furious and warns he will not allow them to damage the investigation.

Harper has, from the start of the investigation, been open with the media. It is believed his candor contributed to the number of victims coming forward and speaking with police. This policy may now have backfired as he has come under attack by a handful of journalists and politicians who are questioning his investigation methods and accusing him of lying.

Harper says the increasing attacks are taking a toll on himself and his team. He has personally had his car burned, had threats to his home, received over 100 threatening letters, as well as having malicious rumors spread about his personal life.

Harper told the Belfast Telegraph: "It is becoming more difficult for me and my officers to deal with. It is the most stressful job I have ever had. It is more stressful than working on the Springfield and Falls Roads in Belfast (during the height of the Troubles), or in Glasgow or south London.

"The team is really feeling it as well. It is a difficult enough job for them without having to put up with personal attacks.

"These are officers who have received so many plaudits from victims who say that for many years they felt unable to trust the police but now they do. "

"I have no idea why these people are trying to discredit this investigation. Everywhere we turn someone is knocking the victims, circulating nasty rumors and falsehoods. I am spending time trying to rectify misinformation when I should be concentrating on the inquiry. Over the past few days the criticism of this inquiry has become hysterical."

Harper emphatically says nothing will stop him and his force from uncovering the truth.

"Regardless of whether this becomes a murder investigation we are dealing with victims of alleged child abuse. That fact seems to have been lost recently."

"They [the critics] can hammer away all they want but at the end of the day we will do what we need to do and get to the truth of what happened at Haut de la Garenne and get justice for the victims."

Now, one has to wonder why these mudslingers are trying to deflect the focus of the investigation by lying and discrediting the investigation as well as the victims who have come forward with remarkably similar stories.

One politician went as far as describing the victims as “people with criminal records and disturbed people”.