Unreserved Apology After Sex Offender Placed With Family

THE leader of the council which placed a known sex offender with a family who had young children last night issued an unreserved apology over the case.

Gordon Kemp, leader of the Vale of Glamorgan council, said he recognised the “distress and harm” caused by the “serious error of judgement”.

It was also revealed that disciplinary procedures have been used in the wake of the Adult Placement Service’s decision.

The council’s social services department has been in the media spotlight ever since it emerged the 18-year-old man, with at least four known previous instances of sexual offences, was placed with a family with two children whom he subsequently sexually assaulted.

It has been confirmed social services staff knew of the teenager’s history when they placed him with the family.

In a statement read out at a council meeting last night, Mr Kemp said: “We deeply regret the distress and harm caused to the children and their parents.

“An urgent case management inquiry into the circumstances of the young man’s placement was started immediately when we became aware of the circumstances.

“What has become clear is that there was a serious error of judgement. We are doing all we can to find out what went wrong and to ensure that such events are never repeated. It is anticipated that the inquiry will be concluded by the end of April.”

He added: “We have a duty of care to the family and we are determined to provide all the help they need. On behalf of the whole council, I wish to offer my sincere and unreserved apologies to the family.”

The meeting was told that the council’s disciplinary policy has been used in the wake of the incident, but no further details of the action taken were given.

Meanwhile, pressure for heads to roll at the council over the placement were resisted by the authority’s political leaders.

Neil Moore, leader of the main Labour opposition group on the council, told Media Wales: “We are not calling for resignations because that would be a knee jerk reaction. We need to look at this calmly and wait for the inquiry to report back to us.

“We need to put procedures in place to make sure that this doesn’t happen again.”

Mr Moore also distanced himself from calls by John Smith, Labour MP for the Vale of Glamorgan, for an independent inquiry into the matter.

Making the calls, Mr Smith said: “I am appalled by this latest shocking case which closely follows the previous damning report from the ombudsman. I’m afraid I have little confidence in any internal investigation.

“The foster family and their children have been severely let down by the Vale council.

“Because of the serious flaws exposed by this case, I believe that an immediate independent review of the Vale’s social services procedures should be carried out.”

But Mr Moore said: “The inquiry is being overseen by the NSPCC. The Welsh Assembly Government appear to be happy that we will carry out the inquiry.”

Independent councillor Gwyn John told last night’s meeting: “It is an extremely distressing case and I am sure that everyone here is feeling very, very sad.”