At least 1,400 children were sexually abused by an Asian gang in Rotherham, England, for 16 years as authorities overlooked the matter out fear of being labeled racist, an independent inquiry concluded.
Children as young as 11 were beaten, raped and trafficked between 1997 and 2013. The report, released Tuesday, criticized the police and child services in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, for their failure to protect the victims.
Alexis Jay, author of the report, cited examples of "children who had been doused in petrol and threatened with being set alight, threatened with guns, made to witness brutally-violent rapes and threatened they would be next."
Roger Stone, a Labour Councilor, resigned following the report. The Independent reports that no officials are likely to be sacked or face inquiries for their inaction.
According to Jay, the abuse was nowhere near the top priority list of South Yorkshire Police, while managers in child protection services also failed to act. "The collective failures ... were blatant," the report said. "From the beginning there was growing evidence that child sex exploitation was a serious problem in Rotherham, which came from people working in residential care and from youth workers who knew the young people well."
Jay believes that there might have been attempts to cover up as three reports given to the police in and the Rostherham Council in 2002, 2003 and 2013 listing the heinous crimes were all ignored.
Parents who tried to save their children from abusers were arrested. Police officers even said the sex had been consensual in the rape of children, reportsThe Telegraph.
Most of the accused were of Pakistani descent, according to the report. This was the main reason the concerned authorities were reluctant to act . The "frontline staff appeared to be confused as to what they were supposed to say and do and what would be interpreted as racist."
Jay stated that too much dependence on traditional community leaders for providing links to the Pakistani-heritage community led to several voices against the abuse being ignored mainly the women
The report was commissioned by the Rotherham council after the arrest of five men in 2010 who were charged for grooming teenage girls for sex.