Graham Wilmer’s new book The Devil’s Advocate reveals an amazing tussle he had with the Department for Education over trying to get them to consider an inquiry into the running of the Salesian schools as the Met Police Operation Torva was uncovering growing evidence of pedophilia in their order.
A report on the Exaro website reveals the full details of a row between the ministry and Graham Wilmer, who is now a member of Theresa May’s independent panel into national child sexual abuse.
Wilmer says that he “had written several times” to Gove to investigate the Salesian order, which runs several schools in the UK. Wilmer is director of the Lantern Project, a charity that supports CSA victims.
Wilmer writes, “He [Gove] did not respond initially, but one of his officials did, telling me that, while she was ‘saddened to hear what had happened to me’, they were not going to investigate because ‘it was too long ago.’
Eventually he got a letter from Edward Timpson, the children’s minister saying:
“Departmental officials have written to Mr Wilmer a number of times to explain that the secretary of state’s powers in this area are extremely limited.
“The investigation of allegations of abuse is a matter for the local police force, and it is not within the secretary of state’s powers to run a parallel investigation.
“I think that it would also, legal issues aside, be counter-productive and unhelpful. We need to see the outcome of any police investigation before concluding that the department can or should take action.”
Well as my previous blog discloses we now have a finding from the police exposing Father Terence O’Brien, being a prolific paedophile over many years.
So taking the opportunity of being at the Conservative conference I bumped into Michael Gove in a hotel corridor. I put it to him that the police investigation was now completed and they had discovered a prolific paedophile at the Salesian college in Battersea who died in the year 2000
Gove’s reaction was ” Oh my God” but before I could question him further he was hustled away by his minders who informed me he was already late for a meeting.
I have a feeling that this will not be the end of the story. the ministry claims it has few powers to investigate schools and was obviously not keen to do so.
This sounds very much like a matter that will have to be taken up by the inquiry.