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Brit cops say failed in child abuse probe

Nov. 28, 2012 at 11:03 AM   |   Comments

MANCHESTER, England, Nov. 28 (UPI) -- Police in Manchester, England, have formally acknowledged the late Member of Parliament Cyril Smith sexually abused children in state custody in the 1960s.

Police said in a statement there was "overwhelming evidence" Smith, a Liberal Democrat, attacked six boys at the Cambridge House children's home in Rochdale and two others, The Guardian reported Wednesday.

Smith, who died in 2010, was secretary of the Rochdale Hostel for Boys Association when he was accused of abusing vulnerable youngsters.

The first investigation of Smith turned up eight youths who said they were attacked from 1961 to 1966 when they were in their teens.

The Crown Prosecution Service said a 1970 decision to forgo prosecution of Smith would not be made today because attitudes and laws have changed.

The CPS said one factor that allowed Smith to escape trial was an assessment by the then director of public prosecutions that "the characters of some of these young men would be likely to render their evidence suspect."

"For 48 years people have chosen to say we were telling lies when we were telling the truth," victim Alan Neal said. "It's still extremely raw and I'm a little bit bitter."

Barry Fitton, another victim, said he wants "an apology from all those who said I was lying."

Fitton suggested Smith be stripped of his knighthood and his member of the Order of the British Empire.

Alan Collins, the lawyer representing Smith's victims, said he is not convinced that attitudes towards child abuse victims have changed.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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