Wednesday, 29 October 2014


69-year-old Richard Alston from Bury St Edmunds denies 10 child sex abuse charges between 1977 and 1980

Richard Alston pleaded not guilty to sex assaults on a boy Richard Alston pleaded not guilty to sex assaults on a boy
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
1:35 PM
A 69-year-old from Bury St Edmunds has pleaded not guilty to 10 charges of historic sex abuse against a boy.

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Richard Alston, of Vinery Road, pleaded not guilty to the allegations when he appeared before Southwark Crown Court.
Alston is accused of abusing a child between January 1977 and February 1980.
The charges include six counts of indecent assault on a male and four counts of indecency with a child.
Alston’s trial, expected to last 10 days.
It was set to be heard at Southwark Crown Court on August 17 next year.
There will be a pre-trial hearing which is scheduled to be held on July 20.
Alston was released on conditional bail at the end of the plea hearing.
His co-defendant Charles Napier has been found not guilty of a historic sex abuse charge.
The 67-year-old pleaded not guilty to inciting a boy under the age of 14 to commit an act of gross indecency with another.
The allegation dates back to between February 1978 and February 1979.
Judge Anthony Leonard QC, sitting at London’s Southwark Crown Court, then ordered that he be found not guilty of the charge after being told there was no evidence to support it.
Prosecutor Peter Clement told the court: “The evidence against him is very narrow compass and lacks the necessary precision and certainty upon which a jury can safely rely and act.”
He said the investigations in to the allegation against Napier were met with responses such as “possibly” and “not sure”.
Napier, of Newland in Sherborne, Dorset, remains on conditional bail with regard to further allegations. These are to be dealt with at the same venue on November 18.


SPOTLIGHT What next for The Inquiry into Historical Abuse?

What next for The Inquiry into Historical Abuse?

Fiona Woolf is following in the footsteps of Elizabeth Butler-Sloss with a similar cogent reason. This is an emerging pattern which should surely be taken by Teresa May as a warning. The Inquiry is seen by those most likely to benefit from it, victims of abuse and professionals trying to help them, as a cover-up of cover-ups. It has been set up because the establishment is no longer trusted by those most vulnerable to the abuse of power. No wonder there is now a power struggle being waged over its composition, remit and structure.
At the heart of the choices made about who is to chair the Inquiry and who is to sit on the panel are some fundamental questions. Who is to decide the process? Who is to control it? Who can be relied on to speak truth to power? The main group of stakeholders are surely those survivors who have been abused then betrayed again via inaction and the concealment of evidence and are now not assured of a process in which they can take part. They have been patronised as a ‘victim community’ by Woolf and as yet have no structured way of giving evidence.
Professionals and survivors witnessing and working in the field of child protection for decades have collective experience that should be helpful and is being overlooked. We wish to know why. Is it part of the continuing need for containment and denial that acknowledged experts in the field who have thought and learned most about the problems are not being consulted? Some are labelled as beyond the pale in terms of the establishment; some have had their careers constrained and blighted by the need of society not to know the truth about these things. Yet this group has hung on in there hoping one day that society will begin to acknowledge the enormous iceberg of systemic abuse in our midst and will want to know what they can tell them about its deliberate containment and use of scapegoating to deflect public concern.
This is a big ask of course. But the questions for today might be, how can the evidence of survivors be heard and acted on? What alternatives are there to an inquiry which inspires no confidence? For example, why is the whole issue not being given the status and resources of a Royal Commission? This of course would be extremely costly, it would not be a quick fix, but would perhaps be a fitting acknowledgement by government and society of the extent of the institutional cover-ups from the 1980s and even earlier decades. It might go some way to restoring the faith of those who most need the truth to emerge.
Sue Richardson, Psychotherapist
Heather Bacon, Consultant Clinical Psychologist (retired)




CPS publishes fundamental new approach to prosecuting cases of Child Sexual Abuse as local government and Family Courts agree to share information for stronger prosecutions

The Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer, QC, has today (Thursday 17 October) set out the clear, agreed approach prosecutors will take to tackle cases of child sexual abuse after a public consultation showed widespread support for the CPS interim guidelines. A list of stereotypical behaviour previously thought to undermine the credibility of young victims is now included to dispel the associated myths when bringing a prosecution.
Alongside the guidelines the CPS is also publishing a joint protocol for information sharing in child sexual abuse cases.  Police and prosecutors are now expected to share and seek appropriate information about vulnerable youngsters with and from social services, schools and family courts in accordance with the protocol and a good practice model. This is supported by senior judges in the criminal and family courts, the Local Government Association, the Department for Education, the Association of Directors of Children Services, the Association of Chief Police Officers, and the Association of Independent Local Safeguarding Children's Board among others.
Mr Starmer said: "In the past five years our approach to prosecuting sexual offences has matured and developed - but this change marks the most fundamental attitude shift across the Criminal Justice System for a generation. For too long, child sexual abuse cases have been plagued by myths about how 'real' victims behave which simply do not withstand scrutiny. The days of the model victim are over. From now on these cases will be investigated and prosecuted differently, whatever the vulnerabilities of the victim.
"The final guidelines, which have been subject to a three month public consultation, confirm that the now accepted approach is that the prosecution must focus on the overall credibility of an allegation rather than the perceived weakness of the person making it. The fact that these guidelines are a culmination of discussions with judges, the police, experts, victims' representatives, and government means they can now stand test of time.
"In addition, the joint information sharing protocol is a real breakthrough. Sharing information, such as school files which may help police and prosecutors piece together compelling evidence of abuse, will now be done. All those who have supported this information sharing protocol share a mutual aim of protecting children, and I am confident that this protocol will help us all to do that.
"In order that we challenge those past assumptions, I have produced a list of common myths and stereotypes around this type of offending so that we can actively challenge them in court."
The list of common myths and stereotypes covers:
  • The victim invited sex by the way they dressed or acted
  • The victim used alcohol or drugs and was therefore sexually available
  • The victim didn't scream, fight or protest so they must have been consenting
  • The victim didn't complain immediately, so it can't have been a sexual assault
  • The victim is in a relationship with the alleged offender and is therefore a willing sexual partner
  • A victim should remember events consistently
  • Children can consent to their own sexual exploitation
  • CSE is only a problem in certain ethnic/cultural communities
  • Only girls and young women are victims of CSA
  • Children from BME backgrounds are not abused
  • There will be physical evidence of abuse
The guidelines place an emphasis on gathering all the relevant evidence in order to build strong cases for juries to consider and the information sharing protocol will be crucial to this aim. Prosecutors will also be expected to ensure that any case of child sexual abuse is investigated by the police for possession of indecent images of children.
Mr Starmer said: "Police investigations into child sexual abuse will be greatly bolstered by the information that will now be shared with us by local government agencies and the family courts. If we are able to present additional evidence to support the allegation, then our chances of securing convictions greatly increase. With this protocol, no evidential stone will be left unturned and offenders should be on notice.
"The possession of indecent images of children has been found to be a common feature of these cases, to the extent that we will now ask the police to investigate this aspect in every case we look at. Other investigative techniques we will ensure the police use will be gathering any CCTV footage, using car number plate recognition in cases where victims are moved around and speaking to victims' friends and peers for background and context. We know the way abusers operate, and police and prosecutors are now better equipped than ever to build strong cases for juries to consider."
The guidelines will also highlight a number of ways in which victims of child sexual abuse are manipulated and blackmailed into keeping quiet about their abuse - including threats to publish indecent images or implicating their victims in other offending. Similarly, the guidelines now raise awareness of the control offenders can have over their victims in some ethnic communities where emphasis is placed on notions of 'honour' and 'shame'.
Mr Starmer said: "We know that child sexual abuse is not limited to any one type of community and that has been addressed. But prosecutors need to be aware of the additional barriers that some victims might face in coming forward and reporting abuse, such as fearing the shame that making an allegation of sexual abuse might bring upon their family. We know that offenders do all they can to deter their victims from making a complaint and we must be alive to the very nasty manipulation that can be used."
Sue Berelowitz, Deputy Children's Commissioner for England, said: "The CPS' new guidelines on prosecuting cases of child sexual abuse are important in helping to address this damaging crime and support its victims. They have worked hard to improve the experiences of child witnesses and increase the likelihood of securing convictions by ensuring that judges and juries better understand the psychological and emotional impact on victims of their appalling experiences. The CPS should be applauded for their work."
Alison Worsley, Deputy Director of Strategy at Barnardo's, said: "A wholesale shift in attitudes is required throughout the legal system when dealing with the child victims of sexual exploitation and these guidelines are a step towards achieving that.
"We must make sure we always listen to what children are telling us, often through their behaviour rather than just words, and consign stereotypes and myths to the history books.
"The challenge comes now for police and prosecutors to live up to the word of the guidance and make the crucial changes needed in practice."


The new guidelines on prosecuting cases of Child Sexual Abuse are available on the CPS website and are also downloadable as a PDF document. The 2013 Protocol is also available to download in full from this website.

Notes about the Third Party Protocol

    • 1.1. The signatories to the 2013 Protocol and Good Practice Model (hereinafter the "2013 protocol") with the exception of the paragraphs listed at 1.4 below are the Senior Presiding Judge, the President of the Family Division, and the Director of Public Prosecutions on behalf of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
    • 1.2. This 2013 protocol is issued with the support of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), HM Courts & Tribunals Service and the Association of Independent Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) Chairs
    • 1.3. The Department for Education (DfE), the Welsh Government (WG), Local Government Association (LGA) and Association of Directors of Children's Services (ADCS) are not signatories to the 2013 protocol and the content of this document is not, nor does it seek to be binding on Local Authorities. However, the DfE, WG, LGA and ADCS support the content of this document and consider it to be a Good Practice Model, offered by way of assistance, and therefore urge all Local Authorities to adopt the disclosure practices described within the document, observance of which will improve timeliness and therefore achieve better outcomes for children and young people who are subject to the relevant proceedings.
  2. SCOPE:
    • 1.4. This 2013 protocol will apply to cases involving criminal investigations into alleged sexual or non-sexual child abuse (child victims who were aged 17 and under at the time of the alleged offending) and/or Family Court proceedings concerning a child (aged 17 and under).
    • This 2013 protocol will come into force on 1 January 2014.

Notes to Editors

  1. For media enquiries call the CPS Press Office on 020 3357 0906; Out of Hours Pager 07699 781 926
  2. The CPS consists of 13 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). In addition, there are four national casework divisions: Central Fraud, Welfare Rural & Health, Special Crime & Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime. A 'virtual' 14th Area is CPS Direct which provides charging decisions to all police forces and other investigators across England and Wales - it operates twenty-four hours, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
  3. At 31 March 2013 we employed a workforce of approximately 6840 staff (full time equivalent), including around 2350 prosecutors and 4110 caseworkers and administrators. Further information can be found on our website:
  4. The CPS, together with ACPO and media representatives, has developed a Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media. This sets out the type of prosecution material that will normally be released, or considered for release, together with the factors we will take into account when considering requests. Read the Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media.

SOUND FAMILIAR ?'Culture of denial' leaving UK children at risk of serious abuse

'Culture of denial' leaving UK children at risk of serious abuse

Deputy children's commissioner Sue Berelowitz says, despite Rotherham and gang violence cases elsewhere, police and authorities are practising 'wilful blindness'
Sue Berelowitz
Deputy children's commissioner Sue Berelowitz said she was aghast at the obvious errors made by police. Photograph: Guardian

Children are at risk of serious abuse across England because of a culture of "wilful blindness" about the scale and prevalence of sexual exploitation across swaths of local government and in police forces, the deputy children's commissioner warns.
In a highly critical interview given in the aftermath of the Rotherham abuse inquiry, which concluded that hundreds of children may have been abused there over a 16-year period, Sue Berelowitz said she had been "aghast" at the examples of obvious errors and poor practice she found.
Berelowitz told the Guardian she had discovered that police and council officers were in some cases still either looking the other way, not asking questions or claiming abuse was confined to a certain ethnic group – such as Asian men – or a particular social class.
Berelowitz is the author of a detailed report into child sexual exploitation in gangs and groups last year following a series of high-profile cases in towns such as Rochdale and Oxford as well as Rotherham.
On a recent field visit to a police force, Berelowitz was surprised to learn that the officers' top search on their internal computer profiling system was "Asian male". When she asked what would happen if the perpetrators were not Asian, the officer in charge replied that the force was "not looking for those". "I was astonished. I said: 'I think you better start looking.'"
She said that in other cases a culture of blaming the victims remained prevalent: "I had another case when I met the chair of the safeguarding board of a large city [meant to co-ordinate the protection of children from abuse or neglect]. When I mentioned cases of child sex exploitation, he said: 'Oh yeah, those two girls are prostitutes always walking up and down this street.' I won't mention the city as you'd be aghast to learn who it was."
Berelowitz said she was shocked to discover that although "there had been progress" by authorities in the aftermath of the grisly series of gang-rape and trafficking scandals, "there are still instances of not looking, of wilful blindness. We have to be careful none of us is in denial about the terrible reality of what happened in places like Rochdale and Rotherham."
Because the subject matter is uncomfortable and scrutiny damaging, Berelowitz added that there was a "culture of denial" that had been exposed by Prof Alexis Jay's inquiry into the handling of child abuse in Rotherham. It found at least 1,400 children were sexually exploited by predominantly Asian criminal gangs between 1997 and 2013.
A day after the Jay report was published, South Yorkshire's police and crime commissioner Shaun Wright, a former Labour councillor who was cabinet member for children and youth services on Rotherham council between 2005 and 2010, came under intense pressure to resign his post.
On Wednesday night, after the Labour threatened to suspend him, he resigned from the party but insisted he remained committed to his police role. He said: "I was elected to deliver the people's policing and crime priorities in South Yorkshire, and I intend to see that duty through."

Theresa May, the home secretary, and Wright's party, Labour, both said he should go. Wright's former colleague and council leader, Roger Stone, resigned following publication of the Jay report.
Berelowitz's comments, however, are intended to broaden the issue beyond Rotherham and similar cases of abuse. She cautioned that despite the emphasis placed on the fact that most of the victims in the northern towns were poor and white, while the perpetrators were Asian, she said that the issue affected "all communities, all races".
"Usually people say to me that it was an issue of Asian males and white girls. When we dug deeper we found Afro-Caribbean girls and sometimes boys as victims, or Roma perpetrators. There's a culture of wilful denial to the reality out there. It's white people, it's Asians. Parts of every community are involved."
Most troubling was the rise of peer-to-peer sexual abuse and exploitation, where both victims and perpetrators are minors. She said that in another extremely disturbing case, police officers had caught a gang of 14- and 15-year-olds who had gang-raped an 11-year-old over a number of days. "The police caught the offenders and charged them not with rape, but with drugs offences. I told them that the message was 'don't do drugs but rape is fine'. The force is now working to bring the case back."
She also warned that the rise of technology had enabled children to be seduced and controlled more easily than before, with young girls texted threats to "murder their mother, whom a gang leader has just seen pull up in a new car, if they talk about an attack" or blackmailed with an incriminating video taken on a mobile of their own rape, filmed to ensure their silence.
There was also a gap in the research explaining what led apparently otherwise normal men to commit rape and torture on often vulnerable girls, Berelowitz said.
"Most of the research into adult males who sexually abuse children in paedophilic mode has been on white males serving long sentences in prison. There's no research into the particular model of Rotherham or Oxford or Sheffield.
"My own personal hypothesis is that they live in a patriarchal environment and are likely to have grown up with a fair amount of domestic violence."
The scale of abuse, too, was alarming. The office of the Children's Commissioner estimated that 16,500 children are at risk from abuse from criminal gangs. In London there are about 3,500 street-gang members, Berelowitz's most recent work says, adding that estimates that one in 20 of the population had suffered intra-familial abuse "are far too low". "In London alone there are about 3,500 young people aged between 13 and 25 involved in street gangs. There is a level of extraordinary violence involved. Now any girl living in a neighbourhood is at risk. I'd say there was more than one girl for every gang member at risk," she said.
Reinforcing the point that the problem is not easily categorised, aA report from University College London and Barnardo's reveals that the number of boys affected by child sexual exploitation may be much higher than previously thought. The report – which looked at 9,042 children affected by childhood sexual exploitation and supported by Barnardo's since 2008 – reveals that 2,986, or one in three, were male.
Society, said Berelowitz, was only just coming to terms with the disturbing nature of the problem and the scale of the abuse. "I think we are facing a public health problem here. We need to mount a public information campaign like that done about seatbelts and get money for therapy. We cannot arrest our way out of this problem."


It's all Mama's fault!' Anna sobs over Mama June dating her molester as it's revealed her younger sister Pumpkin watched from the bed as she was abused aged eight

  • Anna 'Chickadee' Cardwell, 20, spoke out about her anger towards Mama June in an emotional interview that will air on Thursday
  • She accused Mark McDaniel of repeatedly sexually abusing her in 2002, including when her sister Pumpkin, then three, was in the bed with her
  • McDaniel was sentenced to 10 years in prison and was released in March
  • He has since been spotted with Mama June and her younger children, Alana 'Honey Boo Boo' Thompson, nine, and Lauryn 'Pumpkin' Shannon, 14

Anna 'Chickadee' Cardwell has slammed Mama June for bringing the man who molested her as a child into contact with her two younger siblings, Honey Boo Boo and Pumpkin.
'It's Mama's fault!' Anna said through tears in an exclusive interview with Entertainment Tonight that will air on Thursday. 'She has to live with it. She brung the past back.'
The emotional interview comes after photographs emerged showing June Shannon with Mark McDaniel, 53, who served 10 years behind bars for sexually abusing Anna when she was just eight.
'I feel betrayed,' Anna told ET correspondent Nischelle Turner. 'He did this to me. Why would you let him come around the girls, knowing what he did?'
Scroll down for video 
Devastated: Anna 'Chickadee' Cardwell sobs in the arms of Entertainment Tonight correspondent Nischelle Turner as she talks about how hurt she is that her mother has been seen with her molester
Devastated: Anna 'Chickadee' Cardwell sobs in the arms of Entertainment Tonight correspondent Nischelle Turner as she talks about how hurt she is that her mother has been seen with her molester
Distraught: Anna, who will appear in the interview on ET on Thursday, was sexually abused when she was eight
She added that she now fears for her sisters, nine-year-old Alana 'Honey Boo Boo' Thompson and Lauryn 'Pumpkin' Shannon, 14.
The interview comes after a police report revealed that Pumpkin was forced to watch as Anna was sexually abused by McDaniel - then her mother's live-in boyfriend - in 2002.
According to Spalding County Superior Court documents obtained by RadarOnline, Lauryn was just three when she witnessed McDaniel attacking her sister, then eight, on at least one occasion.
'Anna…stated that her sister, Lauryn, is in the bed with them when this is going on,' the report noted.
For her part, Lauryn has taken to her Instagram page to slam what she calls 'false' stories.
Anger: Anna is a married mother-of-one and has said her mother is not allowed contact with her daughter
Anger: Anna is a married mother-of-one and has said her mother is not allowed contact with her daughter
But the police report from 2003 shows how, after revealing the abuse to her elementary school teacher in 2003, Anna told the officer that McDaniel molested her in June's bedroom while she was at work.
She told authorities that she had done the 'S word' with Mark McDaniel, the report shared by RadarOnline reveals.
He did this to me. Why would you let him come around the girls, knowing what he did?
Anna 'Chickadee' Cardwell 
She also told police that her mother's boyfriend touched her inappropriately, made her touch him inappropriately and forced her to perform a sex act on him. When she told him to stop, he would not, the grand jury heard.
The molestation was carried out multiple times between April and October 2002, according to the report. 
It took Anna months to speak out about the abuse because McDaniel had threatened to kill her if she told, RadarOnline reported.
'Anna stated that Mark told her not to tell because he would not like her anymore,' the police report said. 'Anna advised she got tired of holding it in and had to tell.'
Sickening: Mark McDaniel, pictured, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for child molestation. Anna said he repeatedly abused her in 2002 and threatened to kill her and her family if she told anyone
Sickening: Mark McDaniel, pictured, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for child molestation. Anna said he repeatedly abused her in 2002 and threatened to kill her and her family if she told anyone
Back in her life: Mama June is pictured beside her nine-year-old daughter Alana, also known as Honey Boo Boo, and her former boyfriend Mark McDaniel (back), who was jailed for assaulting her older daughter
Back in her life: Mama June is pictured beside her nine-year-old daughter Alana, also known as Honey Boo Boo, and her former boyfriend Mark McDaniel (back), who was jailed for assaulting her older daughter
Speaking to the National Enquirer in 2012, Anna's ex-boyfriend added: 'Anna told me that McDaniel threatened that if she ever told her grandparents what happened to her, he’d kill them and her.'
In June 2003, McDaniel was indicted for child molestation, aggravated child molestation and aggravated sexual battery in Henry County but the case was soon dropped. 
Denial: Lauryn 'Pumpkin' Shannon, 14, has denied that her mother has been seeing McDaniel again
Denial: Lauryn 'Pumpkin' Shannon, 14, has denied that her mother has been seeing McDaniel again
He was then indicted in Spalding County for rape, child molestation, aggravated child molestation, enticing a child for indecent purposes and aggravated sexual battery. 
McDaniel was sentenced to 10 years behind bars after pleading guilty to child molestation. He left prison in March and has reportedly been seeing Mama June again. 
Earlier this week, Anna revealed to People magazine that when she told her mother what McDaniel had done to her, June did not believe her.
'A week or so after it happened, I talked to Mama and she was upset, crying and saying, "I don't believe you, I don't believe you, why would you do this to me?"' she remembered.
'And I was like, "Mama, he did that to me and I can't do anything about it. You were never there to see it. You were always at work".' 
Anna, who appeared on 'Here Comes Honey Boo Boo' before TLC canceled the show in light of the allegations that Mama June has let the pedophile near to her children, is now married with a two-year-old daughter. She said she will not let the couple near her child. 

Mama June has denied that she is dating the child molester.
'The statement of me dating a sex offender is totally untrue,' she said in a video posted at the weekend. 'I would not ever, ever, ever, ever put my kids in danger.' 
But photographs have emerged showing June and McDaniel looking for houses in Griffin last month, while another image shows him touching her daughter, Alana, who is just nine. 
Despite Mama June's protests, TLC has announced that they were cancelling the series because of Shannon's relationship with McDaniel. 
Moving on: Anna, left with her husband and right with their daughter, said she is hurt by reports that her mother could be back together with her abuser - and that they will not be allowed to come near her child

And a friend of Alana's father, Mike 'Sugar Bear' Thompson, told MailOnline that he is gearing up for a custody battle after learning that Mama June has allowed McDaniel to come into contact with her.
McDaniel is not the only sex offender she has dated.
She also went out with Michael Anthony Ford, 37, the father of her 17-year-old daughter Jessica 'Chubbs' Shannon.
After the pair split, he served more than two years in prison for the sexual exploitation of a child over the internet in 2005 and remains on the sex offender registry.
According to prison records, Ford is currently behind bars on a separate child abandonment charge.
The fathers of Shannon’s other children also have criminal records but rather than being sex-related their crimes included arson and burglary. 

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