The allegations of historical child sex abuse made by Esther Baker are going to be a big challenge for Staffordshire Police to investigate.
What it suggests is that some 25 years ago a group of young girls – in Esther’s case as young as six – were taken into the deep woods of Cannock Chase in Staffordshire and raped on numerous occasions while a couple of police officers watched to make sure no member of the public stumbled upon such a scene.
She has been unable to identify any of the other girls – though she says they may have been six or seven of them and not all the same ones – and has until recently not been certain who all the assailants were. Some were alleged to VIPs, others were not.
But she has now told police that a former MP of repeatedly raping her not only there but at other places. He is adamant that this is untrue and insists that she has either fabricated this or been manipulated by others to accuse him of criminal sexual acts he did not commit.
She points out to me that the first time she made the allegation it was to another survivor and was before she was being counselled by any organisation.
Staffordshire Police are at the moment nearing the end of a scoping exercise which has involved interviewing Esther seven times for hours before they proceed to a full investigation which they have promised to undertake.
What has also emerged that quite independently two other women have come forward and made similar allegations against the same former MP. Unlike Esther these two women have not made their complaints public and still have to talk to Staffordshire Police in any detail about their allegations. Neither are known to Esther.
And to add to the complications a third survivor, a man already talking to the Met Police, about allegations in Dolphin Square, London has identified from a picture of Esther as a child, her being there. She remembers being taken to London but had no idea where she had been taken.
All this is going to require a painstaking detailed investigation by Staffordshire Police which is going to take a lot of time and energy. It is a very good exemplar of how these allegations – which would have been dismissed years ago – are now being taken seriously by the police in the present climate. No doubt the naysayers would argue that these allegations still should not be taken up because they sound so extreme.
But to clear up what looks like a hidden epidemic of child sex abuse that is being uncovered in this country Esther is entitled to a full and thorough investigation into exactly what happened in Staffordshire 25 years ago. And the police need to track down who is alleged to have carried out such vile acts and bring them to trial.