Islington Councillor 1982-1990, Mayor of Islington, 1986-1987 . (b. 7 March 1947 – d. 21 October 1996)
Following the publication of the Morgan QC Report on Sandy Marks’ involvement with pro-paedophile activism, and her comments on the muted reactions of the Case Review Sub-Committee to allegations and accounts of abuse, organised and otherwise, it has become apparent that Bob Crossman was one of the small number of councillors who served on the Case Review Sub-Committee with Fallen Angel Sandy Marks.
The concern is that a view pervaded amongst certain political and activists circles in Islington North which made its way onto the Council through elected Members who supported pro-paedophile rights during PIE’s first 8 years of existence: 1974-1982.
With a quorate requirement of only 2 for the Case Review Sub-Committee, the discovery that a second Islington councillor sat on the case review committee alongside Marks, who like Marks had also endorsed pro-paedophile rights activism prior to being elected, now raises questions such as:
- How many times, if ever, did Marks and Crossman sit as a quorate pair on the Case Review Sub Committee between 1982-1992?
- Who else served on Islington’s Youth Committee with Crossman and Marks?
As shown in ISN Report #11 (Council Minutes, December 1972) the role of the Case Review Sub-Committee was to report to the Social Services Committee and its purpose was for the Council to receive and act on children’s homes inspections and allegations of all kinds of abuse necessitating case reviews where children were at risk.
A shadow support network of voluntary and charitable organisations in or close to Islington such as the Albany Trust (resident at 18 Corsica Street N5 at the time PIE began and for which Home Office VSU funding was granted), NCCL Gay Rights Committee, London Friend and others, providing support for the paedophile community in Islington and London generally. This network covered legal and housing advice as well as persuading trade union gay groups that ‘sexual orientation’ should be defined to include a sexual attraction to children, and therefore paedophiles should also be protected against discrimination in employment.
As a result Crossman’s prior knowledge of how child abusers and their political enablers were organising themselves to infiltrate mainstream politics within Islington is now clearly relevant.
ISN, realising that Crossman served on the Case Review Sub-Committee with Marks from at least May 1990 and during 1992 when Morgan QC reports inaction from its members, is now concerned other information regarding Crossman’s prior knowledge of pro-paedophile rights activism nationally and in Islington deserves further scrutiny. This is highly relevant to the politicisation of paedophile rights generally in Islington and in partial answer to an emerging wider issue of whether, and if so, how a paedophile friendly agenda was pursued from within the Council.
ISN has no interest in creating scapegoats. ISN’s research charts the development of an idea – “paedophile liberation” and how it came to be thought that there would be no socialist revolution without paedophile liberation – that gains traction in local politics. ISN are concerned with establishing how far that idea finds expression in council policy or failure of practice in a specific inner London borough. Only those who seek to deny the prevalence of paedophile rights activism in Islington during 1974-84 can hope to create scapegoats by treating paedophile pride as an individual aberration of personal morality as opposed to a locally popular political movement supported by non-paedophiles and child abusers alike.
What did Bob Crossman know of pro-paedophile rights activism in Islington before becoming a Councillor?
What could Marks’ fellow Councillor and Case Review Sub-Committee member Bob Crossman know of child abusers and pro-paedophile rights activists self-organising in Islington?
Although Crossman didn’t arrive in Islington as a resident until 1979, campaigning committees Crossman served on during 1974-1982:
- supported the advertising of PIE as a source of speakers to Student Union Gay Socs, (NUS Gay Liberation campaign committee);
- invited ‘noted paedophile’ Fallen Angel #2 to speak on gay liberation and child sexuality to university students at Leeds, (NUS Gay Liberation campaign committee); and
- deplored the passing of the Protection of Children Act 1978 and persecution of PIE (Labour Campaign for Gay Rights).
The month before being elected an Islington councillor Crossman wrote the foreword to a booklet on Building the London Gay Community that described ‘gay paedophiles’ as a specific social services user group without any mention of protection of children.
If it can be said that Marks and Crossman had no prior knowledge of specific abuse networks in Islington, it cannot be said either Marks or Crossman were unaware that abusers self-organised in Islington.
As an Islington Councillor, Crossman:
- dismissed concern over the protection of children at a public toilet close to the Hemingford Arms pub, where PIE met upstairs
- sought consultation with Islington resident PIE Manifesto co-author Micky Burbidge acting as the Joint Council of Gay Teenagers
- retained a copy of Tom O’Carroll’s 1978 speech to the annual National Association of Youth Clubs (NAYC) in his archives
Crossman was an Islington councillor serving Highview, Gillespie and Highbury wards and as Mayor during 1986-87.
Crossman became Islington’s Inner London Education Authority (ILEA) representative after Keith Veness. He also served as nominated substitute for Marks on the London Boroughs Children’s Regional Planning Committee (LBCRPC) during 1988 and was a governor at an Islington senior school.
Unless co-opted as a member to the Social Services Committee or Case Review Sub-Committee (perhaps due to his ILEA role, or bringing some representation for the Lesbian and Gay Committee Crossman had established) and listed elsewhere in council minutes as yet unseen by ISN, he is not listed in Council Minutes as serving on the Social Services Committee until May 1990.
Limited membership lists are available in Council Minutes for the Case Review Sub-Committee.
1979: A move from Manchester to Islington
By mid-1979,Crossman had moved to Islington from Manchester, where he’d been a member of Manchester Gay Activists Alliance and employed as the country’s first municipal Gay Community Centre Liaison Officer. Although Islington’s London Friend, part-funded by the Council and the government, could have also been said to have a good claim to this title during 1975-1979, Islington Council was already finding that Thatcher’s cuts were on their way. By August of 1979, Crossman was busy at the Young Fabians on 11 Dartmouth Street SW1, organising their Annual General Meeting, (thanked in their newsletter).
Crossman was also active in campaigning for tenants’ rights, working with Pink Triangle Housing Co-Op, which specialised in providing housing for gays and lesbians. Islington Council worked with several housing co-operatives including Sandy Marks’ employer Islington Community Housing (ICH) at the time, where Sandy Marks stated to Morgan QC she worked as a Finance Officer. The council was under pressure to release short-life council housing, due to be refurbished, demolished or perhaps high rise flats classified as ‘difficult to let’, to local housing co-operatives to provide short-stay / end of life housing in the meantime.
Once living in Islington, and prior to being elected, Bob Crossman was also co-ordinator of the Islington Police Monitoring Group, established to examine the way police operated in the borough and taking on board the GLC policy on this. Crossman worked with North Islington Law Centre who were monitoring procedure and sentencing policy at Highbury Magistrates’ Court.
From co-founding the Labour Campaign for Gay Rights with PIE co-founder Ian Dunn, to his campaigning with the Gay Activists Alliance, and serving on the NUS Gay Rights Campaign committee, Crossman was aware of PIE’s existence and even kept a copy of PIE Chairman Tom O’Carroll’s summer 1978 speech to the National Association of Youth Clubs (‘NAYC’) amongst his papers archived at the London School of Economics. Treating gay paedophiles as a distinct social services user group with their own needs and wants was a concept Crossman was comfortable enough with to write a foreword for a pamphlet suggesting this was how local authorities needed to consider child abusers. How far did Crossman carry this view of gay paedophiles into other committees he chaired or was a member of, such as the Lesbian and Gay Committee?
1974-1982: Labour Campaign for Gay Rights (LCGR)
In 1974, Bob Crossman was a co-founder of the Labour Campaign for Gay Rights (LCGR) with Ian Dunn, who during the same year was also busy setting up the Paedophile Information Exchange. In December 1974,
“Dunn used the first International Gay Rights Congress (IGRC), organised by the SMG in Edinburgh in 1974, as a front for summoning paedophiles from around the world to attend the event.”Robin Cook was linked to paedophile group’s founder, Sunday Times 14.12.14
In March 1984, the Sunday Mail revealed Ian Dunn was allowing his address in Edinburgh to be used for Minor Problems, a publication produced for PIE members. In 1990 Tim Tate wrote of Dunn’s correspondence with the editor of Minor Problems, Mick Licarpa. In May 1984, Mick had written a piece in Minor Problems issuing a threat to Islington Council to allow employee John Picton, convicted of abducting a boy in the Council’s care if they wanted to remain credible.
Dunn’s veneration as a gay rights activists without also crediting him as one of the earliest and most successful paedophile rights activists continues to cause controversy for LGBT organisations unwilling to recognise Dunn’s dual role.
In 2007 an award named after Ian Dunn was rejected and then renamed (Paedophile link alarms winners of gay rights award 27.1.07), and more recently Dunn’s appearance in a BBC show from archives caused controversy (BBC refuses to axe show by paedophile supporter which calls for age of consent to be lowered, Mail on Sunday, 22.3.15). As recently as January 2019 the National Library of Scotland was caught up in a controversy over including Ian Dunn in an exhibition , 10.1.19 (The Times).
John Hein’s obituary of Dunn recalls a 15 year old boy turning up at Dunn’s funeral who accused him of rape:
“One young man turned up to exorcise his own ghosts: he claims that Ian raped him when he was 15 (although I have always believed that it was more a case of mixed signals than any mens rea on Ian’s part). He came, he said, “just to make sure”.”John Hein’s obituary of Ian Dunn
In spring 1978, like the NCCL Gay Rights Committee, and the Gay Activists Alliance, the Labour Campaign for Gay Rights deplored the introduction of the Protection of Children Bill (described as the Child Pornography Bill), describing it as “a wretched piece of law” and an “irrelevant and populist piece of legislation”, calling on Callaghan’s Labour government to do more for child runaways to London forced into prostitution to survive. As long as children were free to frequent amusement arcades at Piccadilly Circus, police operations would risk snaring men of a certain social standing, power and influence.
“The most important, and depressing, developments on the political scene were the passing of the Child Pornography Bill and the defeat of the Scottish Gay Rights Bill. It is outrageous that an irrelevant and populist piece of legislation, which in effect alters the law in no practical way, should be nodded through the House of Commons in a day at the behest of people such as Mary Whitehouse, who are no friends of Labour.
This wretched piece of law will do nothing to provide jobs for teenagers, driven from depressed areas to become prostitutes in London, it will do nothing to provide houses for homeless and friendless boys and girls, and nothing to educate the ignorant or cure v.d., caught earning some money upon which to survive. If the Labour Government wants to continue in office, with the support of ordinary men and women, it would far more behove Mr Callaghan to tackle unemployment, housing, education and health problems then add to the already overwhelming laws restricting what people can or cannot look at or read!”LCGR Newsletter, Spring 1978
Crossman remained a member of LCGR once he had been elected as an Islington councillor for Highview ward in May 1982, also serving 82/83 as Deputy Whip of the Labour Majority on the council for that year.
In an LCGR membership list dated 10th October 1982 Crossman is listed as a member along with his Constituency Labour Party given as Islington North, with his title given as Deputy Whip, Islington Borough Council.
Through his membership of LCGR during 1982 Councillor Crossman was also in touch with former London Friend General Secretaries, Roland Jeffery and Richard McCance, both vocal pro-paedophile rights campaigners willing to be quoted publicly on their support for PIE.
As one of the British group of attendees to the same Catalonian conference as the Fallen Angels in April 1980, NCCL’s Roland Jeffery appears on the delegate list where Sandy Marks, FA-2-TB and FA-3-CS (PIE member #248), attended and campaigned for PIE.
LCGR national committee member for the south (1976-1977) Richard McCance, had rallied several organisations he was a member of (CHE, London Friend, NCCL, and the Gay Social Workers Group) to support PIE and during the trials of 1981 in January and March, McCance appeared as one of Tom O’Carroll’s defence character witnesses. After moving to Nottingham to become a Labour Councillor there.
Whether Sandy Marks and Bob Crossman knew one another before being elected as Councillors is a question that perhaps former Islington Councillor and ILEA representative Keith Veness can answer, as Marks’ recent character witness and one of the successful architects of ‘Target ’82’ launched in the London Labour Briefing in December 1980.
The Gay Activists Alliance, Bob Crossman & One Fallen Angel
During early 1978, while also serving on the NUS Gay Rights Campaign, Crossman is listed as a member of the Gay Activists Alliance in Manchester at the same time as FA2-TB was attending meetings.
During March 1978, FA2-TB attended a meeting of GAA and wrote several sides of invective for the following edition of the GAA newsletter accusing GAA of betraying paedophiles like himself. As a GAA member Crossman would have received GAA Newsletter No.10 with this essay included entitled ‘Cry of Despair from Babylon’.
Such was FA2-TB’s confrontationally ‘persuasive’ style, in April 1978, under pressure from his keen eye for causing a scene, London GAA led by FA2-TB’s Davenant Road housemate, Barry Prothero, signed off their submission on law reform sent to the government’s Royal Commission on Criminal Procedure with ‘Gay Love & Paedophile Kisses, Paedophile Love & Gay Kisses’. This document, called ‘Tots on the March’ was circulated by the Fallen Angels at the IGA Conference in April 1980.
National Union of Students (NUS) Gay Liberation National Committee & the “noted paedophile” (Fallen Angel #2)
As documents show, the NUS Gay Rights Conference was launched in 1973 with the help of PIE #51 Peter Righton, PIE #2 Michael Coulson and PIE’s first chairman Keith Hose at Bristol University. Paedophiles and paedophile rights activists had a keen eye on the number of Student Union Gay Societies springing up. If a new generation of PRAs were to carry on the fight to abolish the age of consent and decriminalise adult sexual activity with children into the 1980s and beyond, they would have to be recruited for during the 1970s amongst students of all disciplines, but especially law, medicine, politics and sociology.
“The removal of legal injustices towards Gays can only be achieved by Parliamentary enactment, and that is only possible if MPs want it. In the last resort, therefore a law reform campaign is a campaign of pressure upon MPs, whether in their private capacity or as members of a government.”Dr Michael Coulson, PIE member #2, NUS Gay Rights Conference and Law Reform Briefing Note, 20.10.73, SMG Law Reform Committee
During 1978-79 the NUS Gay Rights Campaign continued to promote PIE and Crossman was on the NUS Gay Rights Campaign Committee who were producing a mailing pack to distribute to local Gay Societies at universities across the country. Included was a list of organisations offered by the NUS GRC Committee as suggested organisations from which speakers could be requested.
Under ‘Gay Organisations’ no 7 PIE was included
PIE ‘Fighting for rights of men attracted to people under 16. Publishes magazine “Magpie”’
Through the NUS Gay Rights Campaign, how many speaking engagements did PIE provide to student unions at which universities during 1974-1984?
Under Advice/Counselling Groups was a scathing listing for Albany Trust as:
“‘Professional’ counselling organisation, scared stiff to ‘come out’, and at loggerheads with the grass roots groups.”NUS Gay Rights Campaign Listings, February 1978.
By early 1979, Bob Crossman left Manchester to move to Islington, joining the Fabian Society as their Administrative Assistant responsible for booking schools and seminars, campaigning for gay tenants’ rights with the Pink Triangle Housing Co-Operative and later as Secretarial Assistant to the Working Party on Community/Police Relations in Lambeth (known as the Lord Scarman report into the Brixton Riots)
In November 1979, the NUS Gay Liberation Campaign committee Crossman was a member of, invited one of the Fallen Angels, FA2-TB to speak at an NUS Gay Liberation Conference in Leeds. FA2-TB had attended the third meeting of CAPM with Marks less than 2 months earlier.
Christian Elliott (leader of the Conservative Group for Homosexual Equality & who also served on the CHE Law Reform committee) had been invited to speak on “What is gay liberation” at the Leeds conference, alongside a GAA speaker who turned out to be FA2-TB – someone who Elliot described as “noted paedophile” TB. Elliott’s briefing note on the event is in CHE archives.
It emerged that on the Friday night a 14 year old from the Islington-based London Gay Teenage Group had turned up to represent them and been promptly sent home.
In plenary – “After a reasonable opening speech the room instantly divided into two camps; those who said there could be no gay liberation without a socialist revolution and therefore wanted to concentrate on mainstream Marxism and those who were generally inexperienced politically who wanted to talk about how to campaign and how to run Gaysocs.”Christian Elliott, NUS Gay Liberation Conference note, 3-4 November 1979
Either via Gay Activists’ Alliance, NUS Gay Liberation Campaign or interaction with the North London Gay Group (FA2-TB and FA3-CS were both members of this smaller group run out of Lennox Road) Crossman’s opportunities for crossing paths with Fallen Angel #2 were many and varied, begging the question of how well Crossman came to know FA2-TB during 1979-1982?
By the 1980s, while an Islington Councillor, Crossman was employed as an Equal Opportunities Advisor for the Education Department of Haringey Council
1982: Building the London Gay Community and supporting “gay paedophiles“
In April 1982, the month before his election as an Islington councillor, Bob Crossman wrote the foreword for a 32 page booklet produced by the London Gay Workshops Collective, Building the London Gay Community. From 1980 onwards a series of workshops had been offered and advertised in publications such as Time Out, Spare Rib and Socialist Organiser. Crossman ran a workshop on behalf of the Pink Triangle Housing Co-Operative.
In many ways it reads like a manifesto, which perhaps isn’t surprising bearing in mind Crossman was in campaigning mode and would be a Councillor within a few weeks, even days of the publication of the booklet. Crossman argued that London was yet to build its Gay Community even ten years after Gay Pride.
As the back cover explained ‘gay paedophiles’ were just one of the different sections of the gay population that required projects and initiatives to meet their needs in order to create a supportive ‘Gay Community’ in London.
“The London Gay Workshop Collective, for example, expressed their view that the idea that children cannot consent to sexual activity ‘is based on the denial of children’s sexuality and the waiving of their rights in favour of parents or of the state.”Yuill R and Durber D (2008) Querying the limits of discourse on queering boys through the contested discourses on sexuality. Sexuality & Culture 13(2):111-114
Like former Islington Mayor (1995-96) and Councillor Sandy Marks and her advocacy for pro-paedophile rights with the Fallen Angels, former Islington Mayor (1986-87) and Councillor Bob Crossman was urging gay men forward on how to rally to the paedophile rights agenda.
“Ask your local council why it doesn’t make a grant to London FRIEND”
“Ask your local council if it would provide hard-to-let properties for gay housing co-operatives and short-life groups.”
The fact that Bob Crossman was writing a foreword for a document stating:
‘[T]he gay community could help paedophiles by raising the important issue of the rights of children and by campaigning for the decriminalisation of consenting sexual activity.’London Gay Workshops (1982) Building the London Gay Community. April p20
the month before he was elected Councillor is hugely concerning.
More than that, a section of the booklet is dedicated to covering:
“The Needs of Gay Paedophiles“
“The issue of paedophilia is one that causes great discomfort to the majority of lesbians and gay men. The recent trial of PIE members and conviction of Tom O’Carroll on the trumped-up charge of conspiring to corrupt public morals, together with the press witch-hunts, before, after and during the trial has meant that the issue has been buried deep underground. Male and female, gay and straight paedophiles, exist in large numbers but very few are organised or in touch with each other.”
London Gay Workshops (1982) Building the London Gay Community. April p20-21
Like the Fallen Angels and CAPM, the London Gay Workshops Collective were keen to impress upon their reading public that paedophiles were not interested in penetrative sexual activity and that it was only readers whose minds weren’t in the gutter that could comprehend this. This was despite a number of trials during 1975-1982 with trials of PIE members as abusers (Richard Bigham, son of Viscount Mersey and pinball wizard Geoffrey Gibb Taylor’s vast network) and convictions detailing quite the contrary.
“Paedophiles are not child molestors except in the eyes of the law and uninformed public opinion which deem that children cannot consent to sexual activity (kissing, touching, cuddling) with adults without being exploited or raped.”
London Gay Workshops (1982) Building the London Gay Community. April p21
During 1980, a year after Thatcher’s election, funding cuts for supporting local services like London Friend and Grapevine had started to bite. Richard McCance, Bob Crossman’s comrade on the Labour Campaign for Gay Rights had lost his government-Islington council funded job as London Friend’s General Secretary and moved to Nottingham to become a Labour councillor there.
In 1982, within a month of being elected, Crossman saw an opportunity to reverse the trend in funding cuts for gay and lesbian ventures in Islington in line with his urging the gay community to unite and ask councillors why there were not funding London Friend.
June 1982 – Richmond Avenue Public Toilets: A litmus test
When the issue of whether or not to close Margaret Hodge’s local public toilets at Richmond Avenue arose at Islington Council’s Public Services Committee, Crossman seized the moment and“called on the council to fulfil its duty to the 17,000 gay people in Islington” and “help them to live full lives as citizens of the borough.”
Completely disregarding the Borough’s Cleansing Officer’s point concerning the safety of children as the cause of some complaints, Crossman added:
“One reason why gay men go into lavatories and wave their penises at each other is that it is the only way some people in the population have of meeting the people and making friends.”Councillor Bob Crossman, Tales of toilet used for homosexual meetings prompts council action, Islington Gazette, 11.6.82
The toilets were used by children playing at Barnsbury Gardens nearby but were also located close to the Hemingford Arms, where PIE had previously held meetings in the room upstairs. Why didn’t anyone other than the Borough Officer protest at the risk to children Crossman was insisting didn’t exist in order to secure more funding for gay men?
True to his word, less than a month after calling on the council to fulfil its duty to its gay population, in July 1982 Crossman convened a meeting bringing together a roundtable of various Islington based gay groups to meet with himself and Councillors Derek Hines, Sandy Marks and Keith Veness attended along with an LBI Information & Press Officer.
The above attendance list included an invitation to the J.C.G.T – the Joint Council of Gay Teenagers.
The attendance list gives a sense of how and why, gay paedophiles resident in Islington came to be considered a social services user group, deserving of distinct and considered support catering to their particular circumstances.
In particular the apology (requesting two days notice for future invitations) from the J.C.GT. is particularly concerning.
WERE “GAY PAEDOPHILE NEEDS” CONSIDERED BY THE GAY GROUPS WORKING PARTY POLICY SUB-COMMITTEE CONVENED BY CROSSMAN JULY 1982-FEBRUARY 1983 AND BEYOND?
In an interview with Socialist Organiser during February 1983 Crossman claimed to have invited about 20 gay and lesbian organisations to the meeting JCGT were invited to.
“From that meeting we set up a working party as a sub committee of the Policy Committee. The Working Party has decided its priority is to look at the way the service departments implement gay rights policy.”Councillor Bob Crossman, interview with Socialist Organiser, #121, 24.2.83
As in April 1982, did Crossman still endorse the view that ‘gay paedophiles’ to be a distinct service user group for a local authority to consider the needs of?
Which, if any, PIE members and/or pro-paedophile rights activists gained a seat at Crossman’s policy working party sub-committee to represent gay paedophile service users’ interests?
Were minutes of Crossman’s consultative policy working group sub-committee any of the documents Morgan QC reviewed as listed in the withheld Appendix 7 list?
Did Marks remain a member of this group, potentially attending meetings alongside pro-paedophile activists like Burbidge, while in her capacity as councillor and concurrently as a member or more of the Social Services Committee, Case Review Sub Committee or Youth Committee?
Did local government civil servant and PIE Manifesto co-author Michael Burbidge continue to be involved with Crossman’s consultative group?