Sex grooming case criticism ‘shows strength of feeling’

Jim Leivers, Oxfordshire County Council’s director of children’s services

Jim Leivers, Oxfordshire County Council’s director of children’s services

First published in News The Oxford Times: Photograph of the Author by , Crime Reporter, also covering Barton and Wood Farm. Call me on (01865) 425427

COMMENTS attacking council bosses in the wake of the Oxford grooming scandal are used in a presentation being delivered across the country.

More than 20 messages – which consist of abuse and calls for resignations – are included in the talk put together by Oxfordshire County Council’s director of children’s services.

Jim Leivers, pictured, has delivered the presentation to organisations interested in the issue of child sex exploitation including the Local Government Association.

The council says the comments show the “strength of feeling” around the case, but some of the criticism is too extreme for The Oxford Mail to print. One reads: “You should be publicly crucified for the heinous sex acts performed on children under your supposed care.”

Another says: “How you can sleep of a night with the images of these abused children passing before your eyes is beyond comprehension.”

While one reads: “It is difficult to articulate the disgust felt allowing this terrible stain to descend on Oxfordshire and the Nation.”

And another reads: “I hope that now this trial is over heads will roll. Disgusting.”

The messages were sent to the authority after seven men were convicted of grooming, drugging, raping and prostituting girls in council care.

The details of abuse emerged over the course of the 18-week trial at the Old Bailey which concluded last May.

The council would not say how many times it had delivered the presentation. It also would not say who the comments were addressed to.

County council spokesman Paul Smith said: “Child sexual exploitation is a national issue and professionals around the country are keen to hear about the Bullfinch case and lessons learned.

“Jim Leivers has been asked to speak at several events where he has either used this presentation or used it as the basis of speaking notes. This included a presentation to the Local Government Association.

“Child sexual exploitation arouses strong feelings. People were appalled at the evidence heard in court and want to know that the authorities are responding.

“These quotes were used to show the strength of such feelings.

“The message of the presentation is that child protection staff must look very closely for warning signs of grooming and do everything they can to keep children away from risky situations.”

Thames Valley Police refused to comment when asked about comments sent to the force after the trial.

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