Rotherham's former director of children's services said she wished staff "could have done more" to help the children who were abused in the town.
In a statement, Dr Sonia Sharp, who worked for the borough council from 2005 to 2008, said staff "knew that there were many children in the community at risk and feared that this was the tip of an iceberg."
Dr Sharp, who now works for the Australian state of Victoria's department of education and early childhood development said: "You can't be a director of children's services and not take responsibility for what happens to children.
She added: "I am sorry that these children and young people suffered terrible abuse and I wish we could have done more to prevent the abuse of children and young people in Rotherham."
Children as young as 11 were raped by large groups of men, a new inquiry into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham has found.
A report into 16 years of child sexual abuse in Rotherham has concluded that the true scale of exploitation in the town will never be known.