Report #10 Pro-Paedophile Activism in 1970s and 1980s Islington: PIE Central and Peter Righton

This report (Report #10) is the ninth of a series of ISN themed responses to the Sarah Morgan review. In these reports Islington Survivors Network present a challenge to the findings of Sarah Morgan QC

Inquiries, reports or reviews which look past the fact the Paedophile Information Exchange operated publicly in Islington for over a decade, avoid a central question:

To what extent did the Paedophile Information Exchange recruit Islington Council’s social workers and residential child care staff as members?

  • Islington’s residential homes policy
  • Social Services Residential Childcare Recruitment & Clifford Heap: 1971-1980
  • Peter Righton’s greenlight effect
  • Academic texts on PIE: A starting point
  • White Inquiry ignored significance of PIE and its links to Islington Council
  • Peter Righton and Islington Social Services
  • Righton, Pollard, Burbidge and Moody
  • A brief timeline of PIE in Islington
  • Was Islington Mayor’s Chauffeur dismissed following a conviction for sexual offences against boys?
  • 2014: Keith Harding, Jimmy Savile, PIE & Jim’ll Fix It

Islington’s residential homes policy

13. Policy changes in residential care from out of borough to within borough with high staff ratios.

13.1. Righton steered the Home Office policies that led to children’s homes being brought from outside the authority to within the locality. This policy was explicit in enabling close intimate relations between staff and children and including a high staff ratio to children. From the early 70s Islington children were transferred from homes outside London, such as Hutton Poplars in Essex, to newly designed smaller homes in the north of Islington. On 18.11.82 Community Care magazine reported Islington Councillor Anne Page questioning the ratio of three staff to two children in Sheringham Road children’s home.

13.2. In 1967 when an Australian archbishop visited Islington Children’s Department his contacts were Hermas Rees Jones, the Director, and John Rea-Price, Senior Child Care Officer. “The time here provided a good overall picture of how the social work  and other community services have been restructured in the new London Borough system. This Dept, is the main statutory agency where extensive and intensive family casework is being done. Islington has a policy of gradually withdrawing all its children from institutional care, bringing them lack into the local setting with the family and supporting them with intensive casework. The other aspect of its policy is to ensure that children are not placed in care in the first place, and it does this by simply not referring them to the Court for care and protection.” The same archbishop resigned in 2011 and an inquiry concluded that he had allowed a paedophile priest to remain in post.

http://bsl.intersearch.com.au/jspui/retrieve/15201/Hollingworth-P_Report-to-the-brotherhood-of-st-laurence-by-the-chaplin-revd-peter-hollingworth-after-his-visit-overseas-20Mar-to-12Sept-1967_1967.pdf p6

13.3. John Rea Price is on record (1975) as acknowledging the work of John Patrick Moloney, an administrative officer in social services, for his part in the acquisition of properties for conversion into children’s homes 1965-71. 


Islington Gazette: February 1975

13.4 I began to build on my knowledge of the 90s and understand the extent of the networks that I had only begun to uncover. I also learnt of the links between Lambeth abuse networks and Islington. I began to liaise with Shirley Oaks Survivors Association e.g. Clifford Heap – abuser as Superintendent of Shirley Oaks children’s home 1952-64 and then appointed as ADSS Islington with responsibility for residential care. Heap also set up a fostering ‘experiment’ (his description) in 1977 whereby a children’s home was closed down and the manager was given 5 of the children to foster. Survivors have described this ‘experiment’ in some detail as they were told it was their family and they had to call the manager ‘Mum’. A file record states that she had not been assessed as a foster carer.

Liz Davies report for Sarah Morgan QC 18.2.18:13

Social Services Residential Childcare Recruitment & Clifford Heap: 1971-1980

While ISN appreciate Morgan QC considered information concerning Clifford Heap to be beyond the remit of her review, the purpose of advising Morgan QC of Clifford Heap’s employment by the London Borough of Islington Council from 1971/2 – 1980 was to highlight his role in recruitment for senior residential childcare officers in residential children’s homes. See #Report 4

As a Senior Management Advisor, one of only 2 or 3 direct reports to the Director of Social Services (Hermas Rees Jones 1970-71 and then John Rea Price from March 1972), Heap’s name appears on several adverts during 1972-73 when LBI Social Services Department is first being established. Unlike other job adverts, prospective candidates are invited to call Heap for an informal chat.

During a period of transition, after Hermas Rees Jones left for Pembrokeshire County Council and prior to John Rea Price (former Islington senior child care officer and Probation officer) re-joining the department as Director of Social Services, for a few months until March 1972 Heap is the most senior officer in the Social Services Department at Islington.

It would be important to understand which, if any, residential childcare workers employed by the Social Services Department were given offers of employment during that period of time?

Abraham Jacob, #Report 6, transferred from Lambeth Social Services to a Mildmay children’s home and then, on conviction in 1972, appears to have moved to elderly residential care. What knowledge of Jacob did Heap have and vice versa?

While Morgan QC spends a lot of time discussing how far Marks might have been able to influence recruitment processes, ISN’s information was clear that the infiltration of the children’s homes with Deputies and Superintendents abusing and trafficking children on holiday exchanges began to take place in earnest during the 1970s. White identified a means through which child abusers known to one another could potentially collude in appointing someone unsuitable because the appointing officer was not always clear.

White I and Hart K (1995) Report on child care in London Borough of Islington p22

ISN survivors and former staff report numbers of staff in this era appointed with no appropriate background for the job.

Peter Righton’s greenlight effect

In PIE’s newsletters, Peter Righton, as an Executive Member of PIE, was identified by and published under his own name despite many of PIE’s Executive Committee using pseudonyms. This was possibly because Righton felt safe to say he was counselling paedophiles in either his role of Community Liaison Officer or Prison Visitor. Righton, like Heap, had been a probation officer earlier in his career, an occupation with potential for increasing one’s knowledge of and connections with convicted abusers of children in the course of one’s employment.

Any social worker or residential care staff joining PIE who recognised Righton’s name (from Social Work Today, Community Care articles, his publications or training he’d delivered) would have felt reassured. Any conflict between personal interests in lobbying for paedophile rights and their ethical and professional duties such as acting in the best interests of children’s welfare were surely seen to be negligible if Peter Righton, social work guru and the person responsible for training residential childcare staff, didn’t see a problem.

Peter Righton, as with any paedophile or pro-paedophile rights activists campaigning in their own name and simultaneously seeking their name in print for their professional career achievements or opinions, acted as a beacon to other child abusers.

Academic Texts on PIE: A starting point

Various academics have written on PIE and its links to the left in Islington.

PIE’s role as an information exchange for paedophiles (as its chosen title proclaimed it to be) meant that it in turn promoted and facilitated self-organising smaller groups of like-minded abusers, such as. To dispel the myth that PIE’s existence is a conspiracy theory or ‘belief,’ Morgan QC could have made reference to several texts. 

Dr Lucy Robinson provides a detailed overview and chronology of PIE in her book “Gay Men and the Left” which highlights Islington youth worker Roger Moody’s role in calling for a paedophile revolution, asking
“if all boy lovers in approved schools and private boarding schools were to strike, how many would be forced to close?” Notably Moody fails to ask whether residential children’s homes would also be forced to close in the event of a paedophile strike.

Similarly Dr Chris Moores’ Civil Liberties and Human Rights in Twentieth Century Britain could have helped inform Morgan QC providing a broader perspective on NCCLs otherwise good work. Prominent campaigning members of PIE were prolific writers, quick to put pen to paper in the cause of self-justification as well as in correspondence exchanging information with like-minded child abusers. PIE members wrote entire books, the most central of which was, Middleton W (ed) (1986) The Betrayal of Youth: Radical Perspectives on Childhood Sexuality, Intergenerational Sex, and the Social Oppression of Children and Young People (London: CL Publications). In the foreword FA2-TB is thanked by Middleton as a former member of CAPM. One chapter is written as a history of PIE by Steven Adrian Smith. A further pro-paedophile book was that of Brian Taylor (ed) (1981) Perspectives on Paedophilia London: Batsford Academic and Educational Ltd, which Peter Righton and Morris Fraser contributed to.

Islington’s Roger Moody published Indecent Assault in 1979, a slim account of his acquittal for the criminal offences of sexual assaults on a 10 year old boy. The title of his trial autobiography highlights that the same crime of ‘indecent assault’ could be used to charge adult males, one over 16 and one over 21, where there would be no criminal sexual activity for two heterosexuals, as was used to charge adult males suspected of sexually assaulting boys under the age of 16.

Child sex offenders and men blighted by the unequal and unjust legal disparity in relation to the homosexual and heterosexual, were recorded as being charged with the same offence of ‘indecent assault’.

The horrendous issue this raised in terms of identifying whose criminal record for indecent assault was an infringement of their civil liberties and whose was as a result of being a child sex offender, only became apparent when police background checks were introduced in 1985.

White Inquiry ignored significance of PIE and its links to Islington Council

At the heart of PIE was member #51, Peter Righton, who at the time of his arrest was described by the Chair of the British Association of Social Workers as “a highly respected figure within the residential field, particularly working with highly disturbed children”, and “very much concerned with therapeutic work in child care.”

The parallel narrative at central government level, running alongside Islington Council’s halting series of fragmented piecemeal inquiries into inquiries approach during 1993-1995, was the fear that the Conservative government would simultaneously be forced to order an inquiry into Righton and his network of abusers, revealing Righton’s Social Services contacts went beyond former Director of Calderdale Rod Ryall. Ryall was convicted in 1988 and received a sentence of 6 years imprisonment for indecent assault of 2 boys, one the son of two council foster parents.

Although Ian White started interviewing and writing his Inquiry report in 1995, just over a decade after the reported demise of PIE, he made no mention of PIE or any form of pro-paedophile activism in his chapter on the History, Culture and Context of Islington, despite the frequency with which PIE were reported as meeting in Islington pubs.

This is not a criticism of White. Three former key PIE members were convicted during 1990-1995 (Dr Morris Fraser; Peter Righton; Charles Napier) shedding more light on their movements following PIE’s demise and casting a new spotlight of inquiry over their previous career history.

Less than a month before the Evening Standard exposé of Islington in October 1992, “leading expert in residential child care” Peter Righton was convicted, and fined £900 for receiving indecent images of boys under 16 and paedophile magazines from Holland.

During 1993, the year of Islington inquiries by Tunnard and McAndrew and Cassam and McAndrew, an investigation of Peter Righton’s diaries and correspondence by Hereford & Worcestor Social Services resulted in a report being sent to the Social Services Inspectorate giving details of the grave extent of Righton’s abuse of boys at boarding schools, residential schools, abroad and with well-connected friends.

Questions concerning Righton’s personal bias and preference for decriminalising the abuse of children, even where the abuser was an adult in a position of authority or power over the child as with residential homes, should have arisen in the context of Islington and been investigated during this time by the Social Services Inspectorate, and yet the report to the SSI sank without a trace.

Peter Righton and Islington Social Services

It is perhaps unsurprising that Peter Righton’s career history became inextricably linked with Islington Social Services department due to the location of his work office in Wakley Street in Islington from 1974 as the Development director of the National Children’s Bureau during 1971-74 . Righton’s boss, NCB Director Dr Mia Kelmer-Pringle served on Islington’s Social Services Committee during 1972-74 as a co-opted member.

It is, as yet, unknown whether Righton served as a co-opted member on any of Islington’s committees or sub-committees concerned with Social Services.

In 1979, Righton served on a steering committee with Islington Social Services Director, John Rea Price to create a new course for residential workers working with ‘disturbed’ children (Social Work Today, A new course for residential workers, 3.4.79).

During 1972 Righton signed a letter supporting Islington Social Workers in their stand against evicting squatters. Righton spoke at Camden & Islington British Association of Social Workers’ training events. For example on October 16th 1978, he gave a talk to the Camden and Islington branch of the British Association of Social Workers (‘BASW’) on ‘Links, conflict and relationships between residential and fieldwork’, in the Royal Free Hospital in London (Social Work Today, 10.10.78).

The man who would have been able to provide the greatest insight into how much input and access Peter Righton had on policy and training Islington’s social workers and residential children’s homes officers is John Rea Price —  the Council’s Director of Social Services for Islington since 13 March 1972 — who resigned to become the Director of the National Children’s Bureau in April 1992.

According to Margaret Hodge in her critique of the White Inquiry published in the New Statesman (‘Not Quite, White!’ June 1995), John Rea Price was not questioned by White or Hart. It does not appear Rea Price has ever been asked to share his reflections since the extent and scale of focused paedophile activity in Islington has become known, in the wider community as well as the residential child care officers employed by the council.

Despite Fallen Angels’ obvious dislike of the National Children’s Bureau in their pro-paedophile polemic “Paedophilia & Public Morals”, Marks felt able to take up a Directorship during 1994-95 with the NCB after John Rea Price had joined as Director. Sara Noakes, Child Protection Advisor for Islington in the early 90s, also went to NCB in the mid-nineties.

What investigations into Righton’s influence and contact with Islington Social Services department during 1970-1992 were instigated by the Social Services Inspectorate?

What investigations did Islington Council conduct itself?

Righton, Pollard, Burbidge & Moody

At a one day conference in September 1975 Righton spoke alongside two prominent Islington residents who were also vocal and energetic pro-paedophile rights activists, Roger Moody and Michael Burbidge. Also speaking was Nettie Pollard, who had already joined PIE as member no 70, and urged PIE and PAL to affiliate to the NCCL.

Although Pollard lived just beyond the bounds of Islington’s borders on Cromwell Avenue, N6 she was still within walking distance of Burbidge who she served with on the NCCL Gay Rights Committee and had hosted the Gay Liberation Front Counter Psychiatry Group.

Micky Burbidge, Dresden Road, N19: A decade older than most of the pro-paedophile activists in N19, Burbidge was a besuited, bespectacled civil servant at the Department of Environment visiting deprived inner city council estates around the country compiling reports on children and families in high density housing. Burbidge was a co-founding member of the NCCL Gay Rights Committee alongside Nettie Pollard (PIE Member #70) and Keith Hose (PIE Chairman May 1975-May 1977), co-authored the PIE Manifesto in 1975, following the one day conference on Sexual Minorities which Burbidge, Pollard, Moody and Righton had spoken at.

Roger Moody lived at various Islington difficult to let/end of life housing addresses in Islington, in Caledonian Road, Liverpool Road, Durham Road. Self-styled as Islington’s first adventure playground creator/pioneer, Moody was employed by Islington Council SSD as a youth worker, laid off in 1991, who more likely than not attended the third CAPM PIE legal defence campaign meeting with Sandy Marks on 11 September 1979.

Moody was also self-identified paedophile who urged others to consider their options for breaking the parental stranglehold on child sexuality backed by the state – the age of consent – by striking:

“…if all boy lovers in approved schools and private boarding schools were to strike, how many would be forced to close?”

Paedophile Politics, Gay Left, Issue 2, Spring 1976

A prolific writer of pro-paedophile propaganda and an editor of Peace News, Moody set a relentless pace amongst Islington pro-paedophile activists to call for change in societal attitudes in acceptance of paedophilia through their trade unions, wherever they worked but especially the public sector, NALGO and NUPE in particular. In a letter he described paedophile politics as consisting of ‘ wagon-hitching to the mainstream gay movement’ (Gay Left magazine (1976) Issue 2).

A brief timeline of PIE and Peter Righton in Islington

  • In 1973, a young Steven Adrian Smith, later PIE chairman, appears in a photograph with Mayoress Patricia Bradbury at the Campaign for Homosexual Equality’s meeting at Highbury & Islington (Islington Gazette May 1973)
Islington Gazette, 18.5.73
  • An ISN survivor remembers PIE having a stall at his local primary school fete in the mid 70s
  • Peter Righton was comfortable enough to be open with Anne Goldie, a Senior Islington Social Worker (Market Area Team Leader until 1985), “telling her at a social function in the 1970s that he enjoyed having sex with boys in children’s homes”
Wolmar C (2013) Forgotten Children. The secret abuse scandal in children’s homes. p.148
  • London Friend funding 1975-1979: Original recruiting address for London Friend General Secretary role (part-funded by Islington Council) was Peter Righton’s Greenford address where he lived with Richard Alston (convicted in 2015 for abusing a boy with Righton and Charles Napier who attended Cavendish School for ‘maladjusted boys’ in Ealing where Alston taught). London Friend was part-funded by Islington Council for 5 years. LSE Archives of PIE newsletters are marked London Friend.
  • During 1978 Peter Righton, co-founder of PIE and Director at the National Institute of Social Work provided training to Islington & Camden branch of British Association of Social Workers (BASW), as advertised in Social Work Today, on “The links between field and residential work” & “Links, Conflict & Relationships between residential & fieldwork”
  • June 1979: PIE social meeting held at Prince Albert pub, Wharfedale Road, Islington reported on by the News of the World which causes the police to make a second raid.
Poisonous Piemen Are At It Again News of the World (24.06.79)
  • October 1979: Conspiracy Against Public Moral’s fourth campaign meeting organising the legal defence of 5 Executive Members of PIE is held in an Islington community centre, Ormond Road

1979: Did the Council dismiss the Mayor’s Chauffeur for sexual abuse conviction of a 13 year old boy?

In November 1979 the Islington Gazette reported that David Gibson, the chauffeur of Islington’s Mayor, who also ran the Hackney & Islington Youth Band and then the Finsbury Drums Corp, had been convicted for the serious sexual assault and sexual abuse of a 13 year old boy. Mrs May Sanderson acted as his NALGO representative.

Despite his conviction and 2 year suspended sentence, Gibson was not summarily dismissed for gross misconduct and instead Islington Council’s Director of Personnel prepared a report for the Disciplinary Committee. It is unknown as to what the outcome of the Disciplinary Hearing was or whether David Gibson continued working for Islington Council. ISN would like the Council to confirm if and when Gibson’s employment was terminated following his conviction.

Mayor’s Chauffeur faces sack after ‘sex with boys’ case (16.11.79)
  • c. 1982-83: Islington Council started funding the Islington-Suffolk Project to which Islington children were sent on camping holidays. In 1995 Peter Righton is found to have fled to the estate hosting the Islington-Suffolk Project, following his conviction for importing child abuse images.
  • August 1983: PIE meet at Hemingford Arms, Islington and are photographed by News of the World as The Nasty Nine – this exposé leads to the trial of PIE Executive Committee members in 1984.
News of the World (1983) ‘Nasty Nine’, News of the World . 28th August
  • An ISN survivor remembers bricks being thrown when a PIE meeting was held at the Hemingford Arms.
Shame of ex-mayor Sandy Marks’ pro-paedophile past, Islington Gazette, 11.5.17

2014: Keith Harding, Jimmy Savile, PIE & Jim’ll Fix It

Islington Gazette 11.12.81

In an investigation into how an Islington based antique clock and mechanical automata specialist Keith Harding of 93 Hornsey Road, Islington, came to be invited onto Jim’ll Fixit in Christmas 1980 to fix a young girl’s music box, BBC’s Tom Bateman dug into Harding’s history of convictions for sexual offences against children and his relationship with PIE as its Secretary. Just down road from Irene Watson Neighbourhood Office PIE members are said to have held meetings above the shop. Keith Harding was also Worshipful Master of the Mercurius Lodge in Cheltenham set up at GCHQ and known as the ‘Spies Lodge’. ISN survivors who lived close to the shop say that ‘posh’ people went there and it wasn’t a place they went to.

To be continued…

Report #11 Marks’ Career Summary

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