Belfast Telegraph

Some Jersey police covered up child sex ring, says ex-RUC officer Lenny Harper

By Staff Reporter

A detective from Northern Ireland who launched a major child abuse investigation that brought scandal to the island of Jersey has said police officers there covered up a paedophile ring.

Lenny Harper from Londonderry yesterday gave evidence to an inquiry into historical child abuse on the island.

He hit the headlines in 2008 when he headed an inquiry into abuse at Haut de la Garenne children's home - dubbed the House of Horrors - and faced a series of criticisms from leading political figures and other police officers.

Despite the attacks, evidence of widespread abuse at the home was discovered and seven people were eventually convicted. However, Mr Harper has claimed that a number of "more prominent" abusers are still walking free.

The detective, who is the former deputy chief officer of Jersey's police, told the inquiry: "I was hugely concerned there was a cover-up happening in Jersey and I was concerned that a lot of evidence was going missing and that witnesses were being intimidated.

"There was a clear story emerging in my mind, and whilst I may not have used the term paedophile ring, my view there was certainly a culture emerging in Jersey of systematic child abuse."

Asked who he believed was responsible, the former RUC detective replied: "It was a group of individuals who were involved in a number of cases. It was the involvement of police officers that concerned me, with allegations by junior officers that led me to believe that some senior officers were involved in the cover-up of abuse of children."

He said he was told about "exhibits in a case disappearing, that officers were not allowed to look at other exhibits - generally speaking exhibits and files were going missing".

And he added that children were being abused in international waters after being taken out on boats: "There were allegations, including several police reports about allegations involving members of the yachting fraternity and children from homes, children in effect being loaned out to people and taken on yachting trips.

"There were a large number of allegations of child abuse taking place, which on some occasions didn't appear to have been dealt with properly."

Mr Harper also alleged that police officers sold prescription drugs to prostitutes for sex and put pornographic films on computers bought with police budgets, but were not charged.

Files against officers were submitted in 2007, but no charges were brought by the Attorney General.

Belfast Telegraph

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