The history of campaigning about the Islington child abuse scandal
These are 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 Review.
The reports include a detailed history of how organised networks of child sex offenders infiltrated the Islington child care system over decades. The reports describe the attempts made during the 90s to expose the wholesale abuse of children in Islington children’s homes and foster placements as well as in the many institutions children were sent to such as boarding schools, secure units and private children’s homes.
Sarah Morgan QC concluded that ‘Allegations of organised abuse were investigated but not substantiated’, and said she found no evidence of organised abuse even though she at no stage defined her terms. ISN consider that Morgan QC has made a serious error of judgement in this respect. Morgan QC said in her Review that ISN survivors evidence fell outside the timescales of the Terms of Reference. ISN can trace the connections between abusers not only within and between the children’s homes, foster placements, secure units and boarding schools but to abusers nationally and internationally and can evidence how abusers were protected.
The second report looks at the background from the early 1990s when Islington social workers first blew the whistle on child abuse in Islington children’s homes, and includes sections of Liz Davies’s interview with Sarah Morgan QC.
“It was a traumatic interview. It was difficult even to come into the building and I was a wreck when I came out.” This report looks at why some survivors were declined a meeting with Sarah Morgan QC and records their responses to her findings.
In this report ISN describe the organised abuse networks evident within Islington’s care system and which extended within the community. ISN consider that Morgan QC made a serious error of judgement in stating that “allegations of organised abuse were investigated but not substantiated’. Some innovative policies were in place to protect children but were not implemented.
Morgan states that the voices of the children were entirely silent yet it is obvious few were listening because children did talk about what happened to them and they were not all silent. Islington survivors tell how they spoke to social workers, senior social work managers, teachers, psychiatrists and politicians. Some of the professionals they told reported to senior managers where nothing more seemed to happen.
ISN question how Morgan QC missed so much evidence of organised abuse networks that is in the public domain and which had been drawn to her attention, including numerous convictions of former Islington children’s homes staff, links to the Paedophile Information Exchange, and connections with abuse in Jersey and other locations.
“They are not files. Papers to be just handed over. They are our life stories” – Islington Survivor. The Morgan Review restated the White Inquiry’s conclusion that the reason for missing files was not collusion but “poor administrative systems“. This is despite discovering that the files The White Inquiry reviewed are also now missing.
Report 8 details the difficulties faced over many years in getting the police to properly investigate organised abuse. “The police response is fragmented and does not allow for intelligence to inform an organised abuse investigation across authorities and countries. I carry the burden of knowledge of many unresolved child protection cases where the abusers may still be targeting children.” Liz Davies report for Sarah Morgan QC
This report looks into the political objectives of the Fallen Angels Collective, a paedophile activist group, and their links to Sandy Marks, who was an Islington councillor from 1982-2000 and also Chair of the Islington Social Services Committee.
Report 10 explores the connections between the Paedophile Information Exchange and Islington Council in the 70s and 80s, the list of paedophile activists who lived in the borough, and looks at PIE executive member and “leading expert in child care” Peter Righton, whose career history was linked with Islington Social Services.
This report looks at Sandy Marks and her role at Islington Council – “The lack of boundaries between Sandy Marks’ political views and her working life is most clearly demonstrated by the fact that as a 25/26 year old she gave her work address at Islington Community Housing expecting paedophiles and pro-paedophile rights activists to get in contact to assist with campaigning before the Paedophile Information Exchange trial“
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 became apparent that Bob Crossman was one of the small number of councillors who served on the Case Review Sub-Committee with Sandy Marks. This report looks at Bob Crossman’s support for pro-paedophile activists before becoming an Islington councillor.
This report looks at the many events from 1982-1986 that should have been of concern to Sandy Marks and the Islington Social Services committee, including the conviction of John Picton, an Islington Council residential care worker, who abducted a 13 year old boy in the care of Islington Council, a resident of Elwood Street children’s home.
During her second elected term, elected as a Councillor to Tollington Ward, Marks was Chair of the Social Services Committee when a number of issues arose concerning child abusers gaining access to children through working with local authorities. These included the conviction of Islington residential worker Abraham Jacob, raising concerns over how the Council could check previous convictions for sexual offences against children, as well as learn of pending or current convictions which a worker did not inform the Council about.
This report starts in 1990, when social worker Liz Davies first presented her concerns about “the real possibility of child sex ring(s) functioning in this area” to the Irene Watson Neighbourhood Office Neighbourhood Forum, and goes through to 1992 and the conviction of Islington-linked PIE member and “child care expert” Peter Righton.
This report focuses on the period of time from the Evening Standard exposé until the month after the White Inquiry is published, and looks at the hostile reponse from senior Islington council staff after the truth started to come out – “Hodge was joined in the immediate round of victim-blaming by Lyn Cusack and Sandy Marks who gave statements to the Islington Gazette giving their views on the children and young people coming forward as not to be believed.”
The final report challenges Sandy Marks’ recollection of her non-involvement in the inquiries, and also looks at Hodge’s refusal to accept responsibility for what happened on her watch – “Over the past 27 years, Hodge has repeatedly blamed nameless council officials for misleading her (as recently as 2016 in Called to Account), but has never named them, nor been interviewed by any inquiry, nor stated that she has voluntarily submitted written contributions to any inquiry. Certainly Hodge had no nameless council officials to blame for her later disgraceful smearing of Demetrious Panton to the BBC in 2003.”