On September 23 my old employer The Guardian published a report on developments in the Westminster paedophile inquiry.
The article examined the big pressures facing ” Operation Midland” the Met Police criminal investigation into claims against prominent people accused of child sex abuse. and also raised issues by survivors about the role of Exaro, – I am a freelance contributor – in the setting up of the child sex abuse inquiry.
The passage affecting me said :
“Others have raised concerns about Exaro to senior Home Office officials over its role in the setting up of what eventually became the Goddard inquiry.
One complaint came last November over the presence of its journalist, David Hencke, a former Guardian reporter, at a private meeting for survivors and their representatives. A second complaint was made to another senior inquiry official three months later, alleging that the role Exaro was playing – “seemingly with the assistance of panel members” –was “causing havoc” among some survivors.”
The facts are these.
My attendance at the meeting in question was approved by the then secretariat of the independent panel following a request by a panel member. The meeting was not about establishing the inquiry but a consultation exercise involving survivors and other people interested and concerned about the issue of child sexual abuse. At the meeting I was completely open, stated who I was, and agreed, because some of the accounts given by people there were very harrowing, never to report anything that was said. I never have. No one raised any objections at the time. and I was thanked by the secretariat for making my position clear afterwards.
If there have been any complaints afterwards no one from the Home Office has raised them with me. I am sure they would if it was regarded as a serious matter.
I want to put the record straight because in an entirely different capacity I am a member of an independent panel dealing with very sensitive issues and I would not like people to think that I had gatecrashed meetings on child sex abuse without being invited in the first place.
I asked The Guardian to correct this misleading point but its Readers Editor declined. That is their prerogative. But it is also my right to put the record straight on my own blog.