Man held amid care home abuse probe
A 61-year-old man has been arrested by detectives investigating allegations of a historic paedophile ring in North Wales care homes.
Officers attached to Operation Pallial arrested the man in Chester, Cheshire, on suspicion of a number of serious sexual assaults. The assaults are alleged to have been carried out on a boy between 1982 and 1985, when he was aged between 12 and 15, a spokesman for the Serious Organised Crime Agency said.
The arrest is the fourth made as part of Operation Pallial, an investigation led by Keith Bristow, director general of the National Crime Agency, into recent allegations of historical abuse in the care system in North Wales.
Detectives from Operation Pallial, which was launched last November, are looking into 140 allegations relating to 18 care homes between 1963 and 1992. The first arrest took place on April 23 and the man from Ipswich, Suffolk - accused of "a number of serious sexual offences against a number of individuals" - was bailed until the end of July.
The second took place on June 26 and a man, from Leicester, was bailed until the end of September. The third arrest took place on July 18 and a man, from Wrexham, was bailed until late October.
A report published in April, which outlined phase one of the inquiry, revealed that the alleged victims in the case were aged between seven and 19. The report said a total of 84 people - 75 male and nine female - had been named by complainants. Of these, 16 were named by more than one alleged victim and 10 may now be dead.
The National Crime Agency was selected at the request of North Wales Police to ensure the inquiry's independence. It was set up to re-examine claims of sex crimes and to look again at the original police investigations into abuse at care homes in North Wales.
In 2000, the Waterhouse Inquiry was established to study claims linked to homes in the former council areas of Gwynedd and Clwyd since 1974. Following Waterhouse, eight people were prosecuted, seven of whom were convicted. Earlier this month, a damning report which revealed "extensive" child abuse in North Wales care homes was finally published - 17 years after it claimed police officers and other professionals could have been identified as potential "perpetrators of assaults".
The Jillings Report, which focused on allegations of abuse within the council care system during the 1970s and 1980s, was compiled in 1996 but its publication was blocked by the former Clwyd County Council because insurers feared compensation claims.
A heavily redacted version of the report has now been published online in the wake of the fresh investigations. The report is highly critical of North Wales Police's role in investigating allegations involving its own officers and also claims other agencies, including the local authority, constrained its investigation by providing "limited information" and, in some cases, refusing to meet with the panel.