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Petition calls for prosecutions over Rotherham child sex scandal

A petition has been launched calling for prosecutions of officers and former councillors over the Rotherham child sex abuse scandal.

London-based Jean Hatchet drew up the petition, which is addressed to Home Secretary Theresa May and South Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings, asking them to “begin prosecutions against those at Rotherham Council past and present responsible for covering up widespread child sexual abuse”.

“The Professor Jay report and the recent inquiry into widespread child sexual abuse and the failings of Rotherham Council has resulted in the mass resignation of the cabinet in Rotherham.

“Now we need justice.

“The people responsible for lack of action which has allowed thousands of girls in Rotherham to be groomed and raped cannot simply resign and escape.

“Shaun Wright, Jahangir Akhtar and others including Martin Kimber, Roger Stone and Joyce Thacker must be properly investigated and prosecuted if found guilty of offences.

“This needs to happen urgently so that survivors see justice.”

– Jean Hatchet

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Rotherham Council accepts findings of Casey report

Jan Ormondroyd is the temporary replacement for Martin Kimber, who resigned in the wake of the Rotherham abuse scandal. Credit: ITV Calendar

Rotherham Council's interim chief executive says the authority accepts the damning criticism it faced in yesterday's inspection report.

Jan Ormondroyd said the report contained a "catalogue of cultural and system failings", and apologised for the "devastating impact that this has had on the lives of the people of Rotherham".

She added that the council needed a "move towards stability" and "the fresh start which [report author] Louise Casey and her team have called for".

We understand the impact of the current uncertainties around the future leadership and management of the Council on the people of Rotherham, and also on staff in the Council. I have written to the Department for Communities and Local Government, urging them to confirm urgently who the five Commissioners who will take over the running of the Council will be and to ensure they are in place as soon as possible.

– Jan Ormondroyd, Rotherham Council interim chief executive

Former Rotherham councillors: None of the September cabinet was in denial

Two of Rotherham Council's cabinet who resigned yesterday have said that none of its members were in denial.

Paul Lakin and Mahroof Hussain said in a joint statement they were disappointed the new cabinet, appointed after the publication of the Jay report in August, had been unable to change quickly enough:

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.

– Paul Lakin and Mahroof Hussain

Rotherham council on verge of government takeover

Rotherham Council is on the verge of being taken over by a government task force.

Former leader Paul Lakin, along with his entire cabinet, stood down from their roles yesterday after a new report commissioned in light of the child sexual exploitation scandal, concluded that the authority's "not fit for purpose".

The council said they'll cooperate fully with any investigation.

Stolen laptops data loss 'covered up'

Rotherham Council covered up the loss of personal data on computers which contained information about the victims of child sexual exploitation (CSE) when 21 laptops were stolen, according to the Casey Report.

Louise Casey's report found that 21 laptops were stolen from the council's Norfolk House building in October 2011.

Today's report said the inspectors had been contacted by a whistle-blower - a former IT employee - who claimed "50% of children's data held by the council at the time" was lost in the theft but the information commissioner was not informed.

Ms Casey said: "The council admitted that some sensitive data was lost, including that relating to victims of CSE. The investigation report shows that the matter was discussed with the police and information relating to CSE was present on the laptops, including the names of adults who may have been offenders.

"This much is agreed between the whistle-blower and the council. But what is in contention is what else was on the laptops."

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Rotherham Council cabinet resigns after damning report sex abuse scandal

The entire political leadership of Rotherham Borough Council has resigned after a damning report on the town's sex abuse scandal. It said the authority is "not fit for purpose" and that the children of Rotherham have been failed.

The Communities Secretary Eric Pickles announced five commissioners will be sent into the council after the report concluded there are past and present failures in combatting child sexual exploitation, resulting in a lack of support for victims and insufficient action against perpetrators.

The report author Louise Casey goes further, saying the authority's culture is unhealthy, and incapable of tackling its weaknesses without intervention.

David Hirst reports:

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Rotherham Council leader resigns after critical report

Paul Lakin pictured at a meeting of the council's cabinet in September. Credit: Lynne Cameron/PA Wire

Paul Lakin, leader of Rotherham Borough Council has resigned with immediate effect.

Cllr Lakin - who only took on the top role last year - will also stand down as local councillor for Rotherham's Valley Ward, the council said in a statement.

The rest of the cabinet are due to resign their positions "as soon as transitional arrangements are put in place", according to an earelier statement.

Rotherham Borough Council's cabinet to resign in wake of damning report

Rotherham Borough Council's cabinet is to resign in the wake of Louise Casey's damning report "as soon as transitional arrangements can be put in place", the council said.

Louise Casey’s report on her inspection in Rotherham has been published.

The author clearly has no confidence in the current political leadership of Rotherham Borough Council.

As a Cabinet, whatever the details, as the political leadership of the council we must take responsibility. We therefore announce our intention to resign our positions as soon as transitional arrangements can be put in place.

– Rotherham Borough Council's Cabinet
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