An MP has accused children’s charity Barnardo’s of a whitewash over the historical sexual abuse of one of his constituents and is demanding an independent investigation.
Greg Mulholland MP claims the charity has failed to properly investigate its treatment of a 16-year-old girl who was groomed and sexually abused while living in a Barnardo’s flat in Leeds in 1993.
The MP says he is ready to “name and shame” the care workers who he claims left the girl at the mercy of a gang of British Pakistani men and blamed her for the abuse.
The charity insists it conducted a rigorous investigation into the case and says it has addressed the concerns raised by Mr Mulholland.
The victim, now 37, revealed her abuse on Sky News last October after obtaining a letter written in 1993 by the Barnardo’s staff member in charge of the accommodation.
The letter, sent to the girl’s social worker, acknowledges she was sexually assaulted in the property but says the situation “could have been avoided if (she) had not been party to the antics of a group of young men”.
The girl remained in the flat for six months and says she continued to be attacked and then raped in what is the only known case of an Asian gang grooming a child in Leeds.
Barnardo’s chief executive Javed Khan wrote to Mr Mulholland to say the charity had investigated the case following the Sky News report.
“The investigation conclusions do not support (your) analysis of the performance and conduct of the Barnardo’s project worker,” he wrote.
In reply the MP accused Barnardo’s of failing to ensure the girl’s safety, telling Mr Khan: “Your investigation and reply are nothing more than a whitewash, which is wholly unacceptable.”
Mr Mulholland told Sky News he would not let the matter rest.
“Unless I have a full and proper response I will be taking this matter further, including publicly naming and shaming those involved,” he said.
Sky News understands the author of the 1993 letter currently works with vulnerable children for another agency in Yorkshire while the victim’s social worker is now a manager in adult social care.
In September 2014, Mr Khan condemned institutions that had blamed children for their own abuse and called for them to be investigated by the Government’s independent inquiry into child sexual exploitation.
In a statement last week the charity said its investigation into the case had been independently scrutinised and reviewed.
“The investigation found that Barnardo’s sought to work with the local authority to keep the girl safe from abuse in line with the legislation, policy and practice current at the time,” it said.