'Concerning' that conviction of Sheffield child abuser Roger Dodds took so long, say charities

Roger Dodds
Roger Dodds
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Children's charities have raised concerns about the length of time it took to bring an ex-council worker who abused teenagers to justice.

Roger Dodds used his position working with schools and colleges at Sheffield Council to force students into performing sex acts on him.

He also sexually assaulted colleagues while working for the authority between the 1970s and 1990s.

Dodds, 81, of Cotswald Road, Hillsborough, was jailed for 16 years at Sheffield Crown Court on Friday after earlier admitting abusing five people.

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Yesterday, children's charities praised the bravery of his victims but suggested the truth should have come out earlier.

Despite earlier complaints, it was only in 2014 when one man alerted the NSPCC to Dodds' abuse that police began the investigation that led to his conviction.

The charity's regional head of service for Yorkshire and the Humber Fiona Richards said: “Roger Dodds used his position to abuse these young men and it is concerning that it has taken so long for the truth to come out.

“His victims have shown huge courage and determination in getting their voices heard. We hope that the sentence will provide some comfort to them and helps them to begin to move forward with their lives.

“The outcome clearly demonstrates that victims of abuse will be listened to, no matter how much time has passed.”

The council apologised to Dodds' victims and said it 'accepted responsibility'. It has made changes to its policy after an independent investigation.

But it could be ordered to pay compensation to his victims, who have brought a civil case before the court.

The authority said it would not comment further until the end of the civil case.

It has stressed support for Sexual Violence and Awareness Week, which runs until Sunday,

Meera Kulkarni from the Sheffield Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre, which the council supports, said: "We want all survivors to know that (sexual abuse) is not OK. They are not to blame and we are here to help and support them”.

Rob Jackson is area director for the north of England for the Children's Society charity, which supports abuse victims.

He said it was important that organisations such as councils were able to recognise the signs of child sexual abuse.

"We have had high profile cases in the last few years where young people have been deemed to be old enough or streetwise enough that they know the situations they are getting themselves into - when of course that isn't the case.

"Predatory adults have used coercion or their positions and exploited them sexually.

"It's really important that we are able to get in front of the issue in terms of prevention and knowing what to look for."

To contact the NSPCC with concerns about a child call 0800 808 5000. Children can call Childline on 0800 1111.

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