Foster Parents Not Warned Of Teen Sex Offender Who Raped Their Son

Social workers failed to warn foster parents about sexual offences committed by a teenager placed in their care who went on to rape their two-year-old son and abuse their nine-year-old daughter.

The youth, 18, attacked the children within months of being welcomed into the family, a court was told yesterday.

An inquiry was ordered as the director of social services for Vale of Glamorgan Council apologised for what he admitted was a serious error of judgment in placing the youth in a home with young children.

The youth was ordered to be detained indefinitely, after admitting rape and sexual assault.

Richard Evans, for the prosecution, told Cardiff Crown Court that the youth, who cannot be identified, abused the children over a period of several months until the older child told her parents what was happening.

He said: “The foster parents’ daughter told them how he would come into her room, lie on top of her, kiss her and put his hands under her clothing. She said when she called out, he put his hand over her mouth. The girl confided in her parents after her little brother was raped by the teenager. It was an horrific abuse.”

The court heard that the foster parents had taken in the youth as an emergency case because he was homeless. They were not told that he had a history of sexual offending dating back at least five years, when he first faced allegations of inappropriate behaviour with a young boy.

In 2005 he admitted exposing himself and sexually touching another young boy. Two years ago he was sacked from a job at a bowling alley after complaints that he was asking young girls for their telephone numbers. Last year he was accused of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl while she slept.

Nicholas Cooke, QC, the Recorder of Cardiff, said it was a matter of grave concern how the youth ended up with the family. He said: “In this case a tragedy ensued for a family who only wished to serve the community and who were let down by the system. They were unable to protect their own children because of a failure to provide them with information.”

He told the youth he would be detained for a minimum of six years and would be released only when he was considered to be no longer a danger to the public. His name was put on the sex offenders register and he was banned from working with children for life.

David Pinnel, for the defence, said that the youth had been exposed to temptation through no fault of his own. “He was immature and in need of help but through no fault of his own was placed in an environment where he was afforded the opportunity to commit these terrible offences. The criminal responsibility is his, but it would not have happened if he had not been placed in that position.”

Foster parents have a legal right to all the information held by social workers on a child they take into their home. That was established in 2000 when the parents of four children sexually abused by a fostered teenager in Essex won a seven-year court case. Their case also established the right to sue the local authority in question.

The inquiry is to be overseen by the NSPCC, the children’s charity. Vale of Glamorgan Council confirmed that the inquiry will look at what should have been done to protect the children. It said: “The carers have been asked to play an important role in finding out what went wrong. Issues of professional practice and judgment highlighted during the initial inquiry have received an immediate response, including use of the council’s disciplinary policy.”

Phil Evans, Vale of Glamorgan’s director of social services, apologised yesterday to the family. He said: “The council deeply regrets the distress and harm caused to the family. Senior managers have met with them to apologise and to find out what support they may need now and in the future.

“It has become clear there was a serious error of judgment. Staff are taking this very seriously. We are doing all we can to find out what went wrong and to ensure such events are never repeated.”