The allegations about so-called VIP pedophiles involve prestigious London addresses, some of the highest-ranking members of Britain’s establishment and the suspected abuse of young boys in the 1970s and 1980s, including three who were slain.
Six members of Parliament have been implicated in the scandal, which threatens to expose a powerful political elite who may have raped and exploited juveniles for more than a decade and put their self-interests ahead of the protection of children.
John Mann, a member of Parliament, has presented Scotland Yard with a dossier that he said names 22 high-profile figures, including three serving in the House of Commons and three members of the House of Lords, who are believed to have been involved in a pedophile ring. There are no allegations that the six members of Parliament were involved in incidents in which children died.
The dossier includes the names of 14 Conservative politicians, five Labor politicians and three from other parties, Mann told reporters.
He also alleges that up to five pedophile rings were operational at the same time during the 1970s and 1980s, and that two whistle-blowers who knew about nefarious activities by members of Parliament met suspicious deaths.
Allegations about the sexual abuse of minors were previously believed to be limited to ex-government ministers, some of whom are already dead, including Liberal Cyril Smith, who died in 2010 and is the only politician to have been named to date.
Recent news that an alleged Westminster pedophile ring could implicate currently serving members of Parliament has sent fresh waves of disgust through Britain at a time of heightened sensitivity after several well-known figures, including popular TV and media personalities, have been accused of molesting minors several decades ago.
Scotland Yard last week stepped up its investigation of claims of “serious and organized sexual abuse” by announcing that it was investigating the killings of three boys.
“I cannot stress enough just what a complicated and difficult investigation this is, examining events that took place over 30 years ago,” Detective Superintendent Kenny McDonald said.
The fresh leads center on the evidence of one witness, known by the pseudonym Nick, who told detectives he was abused between the ages of 7 and 16, from 1975 to 1984, at a posh London apartment complex in Dolphin Square, popular with legislators because of its close proximity to Parliament.
“Nick” said he once witnessed a boy being strangled to death by a Conservative member of Parliament, according to British media reports. He also said he was taken to Dolphin Square in a chauffeur-driven car and abused by a single man, a group of men or during “parties.”
Investigators said they believe his account of events are “credible and true” and appealed for more victims and witnesses to come forward.
“I know that there were other boys who were abused, or who were present while the abuse took place,” McDonald said. “I ask you to trust me. I will believe you, support you and do everything in my power to find those responsible and bring them to justice.”
Allegations of a Westminster pedophile ring first came to light in 2012 but resurfaced in July when it became known that a 40-page dossier that accused eight public figures of pedophilia had vanished. It had been compiled by the late member of Parliament Geoffrey Dickens, a long-standing campaigner on child abuse, and was given to then-Home Secretary Leon Brittan in 1983.
The clamor for answers and accusations of a “coverup” have not abated since.
Home Secretary Theresa May in July ordered two reviews: one to look into the issue of the vanishing files, and a wide-ranging external inquiry examining the overarching issue of abuse.
The latter has been marred by difficulties, however. Two chairwomen were forced to step down because of conflicts of interest, and a leaked letter shows that May is considering replacing the inquiry panel with a body that has the power to compel witnesses to give evidence. It is a move many abuse victims and representatives support.
Some anti-child abuse campaigners say they have long been aware of alleged atrocities by those in the highest echelons of power, but feared they might never be adequately investigated.
“I would like to be able to say we are shocked by this but unfortunately we’ve been hearing allegations along these lines for many, many years,” Jon Bird, operations manager at the National Assn. for People Abused in Childhood, said in an interview Tuesday. “I never thought the lid would come off this, I thought they would keep it under wraps forever.”
Bird said he is hopeful the evidence is too overwhelming for authorities to ignore the alleged crimes, and can finally bring closure to victims. He has taken to inscribing his greeting cards with a simple message: “2015 is going to be the year the truth comes out.”
Boyle is a special correspondent.