Rolf Harris naming by London's Sun raises serious questions

On April 19, 2013 the entire front page of The Sun screamed ‘WORLD EXCLUSIVE ROLF HARRIS SEX ABUSE ARREST. TV legend, 83 quizzed over assault claim’.

Leaving aside the obviously false claim that this was a world exclusive as the news had been circulating for months on the Internet, this headline raises some very serious questions. There are issues about publicity at the arrest stage, matters concerning the blurring of distinctions between abuse and assault and complexities of belief, disbelief, trust and distrust. 

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Fred Talbot arrested in child sex abuse probe

TV weather presenter Fred Talbot, known for his role on the ITV programme “This Morning”, was arrested today following a police investigation into allegations of historic child sexual abuse at Altrincham Grammar School for Boys.

Talbot, aged 63, was a biology teacher at Altrincham Grammar in the 1970s and 1980s.  He was arrested today on suspicion of three counts of indecent assault and four counts of inciting a child to commit acts of gross indecency, involving four different children.  The incidents apparently did not happen within school grounds but allegedly involved a member of staff at the time.  Suspicions of Talbot’s behaviour were first raised to the police in December 2012, and the police raided Talbot’s home later that month while he was away on holiday.  Talbot attended a scheduled meeting with the police today, at which point he was brought into custody.

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Catholic priest among two arrested over MP’s child sex abuse ring

Investigations into allegations of historical child sexual abuse centring at Grafton Close, a former children’s care home, and Elm Guest House in West London, have this week resulted in the arrest of a Norwich priest, 66 year-old Reverend Tony McSweeney.

A second man, understood to be 70 year-old John Stigmore of East Sussex, was also arrested on Wednesday morning.  Stigmore is thought to have been the former deputy head of Grafton Close, which was administered by Richmond Council.  These are the first arrests ensuing from Operation Fernbridge after concerns were raised by Labour MP Tom Watson in October 2012 about a powerful paedophile network allegedly linked to and protected by members of Parliament and officials at No 10 Downing St in the 1980’s.  Watson has contended that evidence of these allegations — part of a file used to convict Peter Righton, a former consultant to the National Children’s Bureau, of importing child pornography in 1992 — should be investigated by the Metropolitan Police.

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