Resigned Rotherham leader denies being in denial over child abuse scandal

Rotherham Town Hall, Moorgate

Rotherham Town Hall, Moorgate

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The leader of Rotherham Council who resigned over the publication of a new report which said councillors are still in denial about child abuse has refuted the claims.

The explosive Casey Report was published yesterday, which exposed that no senior figures have been disciplined over the Jay Report, which showed that 1,400 children had been abused in Rotherham from 1997 to 2013.

It also said that ‘member after member and officer after officer’ tried to deny the Jay Report’s findings, claiming 70 per cent of councillors the author spoke to attempted to deny there was a problem with child abuse.

It slammed the council as ‘failing’ young children, adding: “Rotherham doesn’t learn, even in the most tragic of circumstances, and it has not improved.”

READ THE ORIGINAL REPORT: EVERYTHING you need to know about latest Rotherham abuse scandal

The report led to the resignation of Rotherham Council’s entire cabinet in one go, as well as the resignation of leader Paul Lakin.

But today, Mr Lakin has denied that he and his cabinet members are in denial about child abuse, in a new statement jointly issued with Coun Mahroof Hussain, who also resigned.

He said: “As members of the cabinet that took the decision yesterday to resign immediately following publication of the Casey Report into Rotherham Council, we fully supported that decision. We had hoped to facilitate an orderly transition to control by government commissioners as soon as possible.

“Since then, it has become evident that we can no longer continue to serve as a Rotherham Borough Councillors and accordingly we have tendered our resignations.

“After the publication of the Jay Report in August last year, it became clear that there were many people in Rotherham more anxious to guard their reputations than protect the children of Rotherham.

“In our view, none of those appointed to the new cabinet at the full council meeting on 10 September 2014 was in denial.

“The whole cabinet tried its best rapidly to heal the town’s wounds and rebuild trust in the council, but a culture established over decades is difficult to overhaul completely in a few weeks.

“We are disappointed that we failed to move sufficiently quickly and hope that another fresh start will prove more successful in protecting vulnerable children and young people in Rotherham from sexual abuse.

“The decent people of Rotherham, of all ethnic origins, want to see the perpetrators of these vile crimes apprehended, prosecuted and convicted. It is unacceptable that years after many of the events took place we still have no knowledge of how many investigations and arrests there have been let alone the sight of these criminals brought to justice. We wish the incoming government commissioners more success with holding the South Yorkshire Police to account than we managed to have.”

READ MORE ON THE LATEST ROTHERHAM SCANDAL:

Child abuse inquiry judge to examine Rotherham

Council cabinet quits EN MASSE

Rotherham Labour group admits failings

Police chiefs admit more needs to be done

Petition calls for prosecutions over abuse scandal

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