Monday, January 30, 2012
Paedophile of 'the most sickening order' was able to film himself abusing girls in primary school classrooms because bosses did NOTHING despite 30 warnings
Behold the attitudes engendered by being a British public servant. They are an especially protected class who can be fired only under the most exceptional circumstances so they often just go through the motions of doing their jobs -- with the only important thing to them being what cake to have with their morning tea. This case was so extreme, however, that the most guilty party was fired. He should have been prosecuted for criminal negligence or as an accessory after the fact
A paedophile teacher filmed himself abusing girls in the classroom after school bosses failed over 14 years to act on 30 warnings about his behaviour. Nigel Leat, 51, was described by a judge as a ‘paedophile of the most sickening order’ when he was jailed indefinitely last year for abusing five girls, some as young as six.
Yesterday a damning report showed that the primary school where he worked had catastrophically failed to protect the children in his care. Over 14 years, concerns had been raised repeatedly about Leat’s behaviour with pupils, but his conduct was never investigated. He had abused children in the school’s computer room, resource room, staff room and even during lessons with other pupils present.
Leat also regularly filmed the pupils’ harrowing ordeals using a camera provided by the school, storing hundreds of films on more than 20 memory sticks labelled with his victims’ names.
Staff at Hillside First School in Worle, Somerset, first noticed Leat selecting girls who were ‘less academically able, emotionally needy or pretty’ as his ‘favourites’ a year after he started teaching there in 1996.
His inappropriate behaviour was so well known that staff tried to prevent children likely to become his ‘star pupils’ from being put into his Year Two and Year Three classes.
In 2004, a mother claimed Leat had been taking pictures of her daughter with a mobile phone but he denied the accusation and no action was taken. Four years later, two children told staff that Leat, a married father of two, had been touching their legs and kissing one of them – causing her to be sick – and a teacher twice reported him to the head. Another member of staff saw Leat projecting an indecent image of an adult on to a wall during a lesson.
Leat was also seen lifting up and groping young girls in the playground, tickling and cuddling pupils in class and sitting on cushions with a schoolgirl while visibly aroused.
But those staff members who reported Leat’s behaviour were told they should not ‘insinuate things’ and were bullied into silence, a report said yesterday.
It was later discovered that Leat would routinely hide a camera under his desk and then summon his victims, recording the subsequent horrifying images of the abuse. In many of the videos, which are up to ten minutes in length, other children can be seen or heard in the background.
When police finally became involved, Leat first denied wrongdoing but later admitted 36 sexual offences including rape, assault and voyeurism.
Yesterday a review by the North Somerset Safeguarding Children Board concluded that his appalling crimes could have been stopped much earlier if the school had not failed to act on the warnings. Instead, out of 30 disturbing incidents noted, only 11 were mentioned to the school’s headmaster, Chris Hood, and none was passed on to an agency outside the school.
Leat was only arrested in December 2010, when a schoolgirl told her mother he abused her ‘every day apart from when the teaching assistant was in the classroom’.
Police who raided the home he shared with his wife, also a teacher, found more than 30,000 images, including 61 pictures and 21 movies at level five, the most serious level. At least 20 children were victims of Leat’s abuse or witnessed it at the school, which caters for 128 children aged between four and eight.
Three Ofsted inspections undertaken during the time Leat was abusing his students graded it as ‘good’ and a report in 2009 noted: ‘Pupils feel exceptionally safe and secure because they know that staff have their well-being at heart.’
Tony Oliver, who chaired the serious case review, said: ‘There was a failure at every level within the school.
‘There was a culture which just did not empower people to voice their concerns. It could be interpreted as a culture of bullying.’ He said the headmaster had been sacked following a disciplinary process.
Ban on spanking behind London riots?
The ban on smacking children must be overturned to help prevent a repeat of last summer’s riots, according to a senior Labour MP.
Former Education Minister David Lammy, who represents the Tottenham area of North London where the disturbances started, says working-class parents need to be able to discipline their children physically to deter them from joining gangs and getting involved in knife crime.
Calling for a return to the Victorian laws on discipline, Mr Lammy said parents were ‘no longer sovereign in their own homes’ and lived under constant fear that social workers would take away their children if they chastised them.
The MP said it was easier for middle-class parents to control their children as they could afford to pay for private schools, which have tougher discipline than state schools, as well as activities such as tennis lessons.
Mr Lammy, 39, said he was smacked as a child and it taught him self-discipline and respect, adding that he had smacked his own sons, aged three and five – mainly to protect them from danger.
He called for a reversal of Labour’s 2004 decision to tighten up the smacking law. Previously parents could use ‘reasonable chastisement’, while the new definition prohibits any force that causes ‘reddening of the skin’. Mr Lammy poured scorn on that description, saying it was irrelevant to black children.
He said: ‘Many of my constituents came up to me after the riots and blamed the Labour Government, saying, “You guys stopped us being able to smack our children.”
‘When this was first raised with me I was pretty disparaging. But I started to listen. These parents are scared to smack their children and paranoid that social workers will get involved and take their children away.
‘The law used to allow “reasonable chastisement”, but current legislation stops actions that lead to a reddening of the skin – which for a lot of my non-white residents isn’t really an issue.’
Mr Lammy – who is married to portrait artist Nicola Green, the daughter of the founder of the British Lung Foundation, Professor Sir Malcolm Green – said the law was designed for middle-class families, not those who lived with ‘fear outside their windows’.
‘Middle-class families can find all sorts of ways to handle children, by putting them in tennis classes or using traditional private schools,’ he said.
Asked if he had smacked his own children he confessed: ‘I have smacked my kids, but it doesn’t happen very often – usually when they are in danger.’ The MP was pressed on the issue in an interview with Iain Dale on LBC Radio, after he had made a call on the Mumsnet website for smacking to be legalised.
Parents in his area had to ‘raise children on the 15th floor of a tower block with knives, gangs and the dangers of violent crime just outside the window’, he said.
‘They no longer feel sovereign in their own homes. And the ability to exercise their own judgment in relation to discipline and reasonable chastisement has been taken away.’
He added that ‘middle-class’ MPs and Ministers had no idea of the ‘realities of the single mum struggling with these issues. We should return to the law as it existed for 150 years before it was changed in 2004’.
The Children Act of 2004, introduced by Tony Blair’s Government, removed the defence of ‘reasonable chastisement’, meaning injuries as slight as a bruise can result in an assault charge. Guilty parents can be jailed for up to five years.
Mr Lammy told The Mail on Sunday: ‘Parents in my constituency are frightened that if they smack their children, a social worker will come knocking at the door.
‘When the law changed in 2004, it was to deal with people who abused their children. The law at that time left judges to determine if a parent had used reasonable chastisement. Under the new arrangements it is left to social workers.
‘Single mums raising boys feel there are things that happen outside their front door – drugs, gangs or knife crime – where smacking is one of the things they should be able to do. They are confused about the law. We should allow 99 per cent of parents to determine how to help their children understand boundaries and learn right from wrong.
‘We have to distinguish between that and child abuse. No normal parent enjoys smacking their child. A lot do it from time to time and as children get older it stops. ‘I was smacked as a child. And I am hugely grateful for the role my mother played in my life. I wouldn’t be an MP if it were not for her.’
Mr Lammy was brought up in Tottenham by a single mother, Rose, and has previously spoken of his sense of ‘betrayal’ after his father walked out on the family when he was 11 years old.
Mr Lammy set out his support for scrapping the smacking ban in his book Out Of The Ashes: After The Riots.
He said that last year’s summer riots, which started after a man was shot dead by police in Tottenham, were ‘an explosion of hedonism and nihilism’, fuelled by police blunders – and not caused by Government cuts or joblessness.
His predecessor as Tottenham MP, Bernie Grant, famously said police got a ‘bloody good hiding’ in the 1985 Broadwater Farm riot, when PC Keith Blakelock was killed.
Mr Lammy’s constituency in the London borough of Haringey has witnessed two terrible child abuse scandals. In 2009, the mother of ‘Baby P’, Peter Connelly, and two others were jailed after he died, despite being seen by Haringey’s authorities 60 times. The council was also criticised after eight-year-old Victoria Climbie was starved to death in Tottenham in 2000.
Veterans Group Calls on West Point to Pull Speaking Invite for Anti-Islamist Retired Officer
A group of veterans is calling on the U.S. Military Academy at West Point to retract its speaking invitation to a retired Army officer known for his controversial views about Islam.
Retired Lt. Gen. William Boykin was the Pentagon’s senior military intelligence official until 2004, when he was reprimanded for remarks comparing the war against radical Islam to a Christian struggle against Satan and for saying Muslims worship idols and not “a real God,” according to the Washington Post. He has also said he believes no mosques should be built in America and has called Islam “a totalitarian way of life.”
Boykin, an ordained minister who speaks around the country, is scheduled to be the keynote speaker at a West Point prayer breakfast Feb. 8.
On Thursday, VoteVets.org, the self-described “largest progressive organization of veterans in America,” released a letter to West Point‘s superintendent asking for Boykin’s invitation to be rescinded.
“[Statements similar to Boykin's] remarks threaten our relationships with Muslims around the world, and thereby, our troops serving in harm’s way,” the letter stated.
Calling Boykin’s values “inconsistent even with current Army doctrine,“ the organization said it would be ”counterproductive for our future Army leaders to hear the views of Lt. Gen. Boykin.”
VoteVets.org has been joined by the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers, a “community support network” that “responds to insensitive practices that illegally promote religion over non-religion within the military or unethically discriminate against minority religions or differing beliefs,” according to their website.
Australian tennis ace critical of homosexuality
TENNIS great Margaret Court claims homosexuality is often the result of sexual abuse. Amid a growing backlash over her opposition to same-sex marriage, the three-time Wimbledon champion told The Sunday Mail "many, many" gay and lesbian people she knew of had "been abused" and this had led to their sexual orientation.
Court, a senior minister at Perth's Victory Life Centre, has already sparked fury among gay and equal rights activists for recent comments, including that the push for gay marriage was trying "to legitimise what God calls abominable sexual practices".
Mental health advocate Chris Tanti accused her of "spreading misery" and putting young gay people at risk of suicide with what he called her anti-gay comments, amid calls for her name to be removed from centre court at Melbourne Park.
But Court said: "We get them (homosexuals) in (at church) and you'll find that many, many of them have been abused". When asked if she felt such abuse led people to homosexuality, Court said: "Yes. You look at a lot of them, that's happened."
She would not be drawn on whether she felt same-sex abuse was specifically to blame, saying, "We'll start another can of worms if I start talking on all this."
Peter Rosengren, editor of the Catholic Church's The Record newspaper, batted away her claims, saying he had "never heard of any scientific study" linking abuse and homosexuality, and that "everyone has to be respected".
In a wide-ranging interview, Court also said:
"The word of God is our TV guide to life. It's not the fear book, it's a love book and it tells us how to live our lives."
"I would have won six Wimbledons not three . . . if I'd known what I know now from the scriptures, on the area of the mind."
Many migrants expected Australians "to change our laws to embrace what they have and I don't feel that's right".
"Christianity is a way forward" for Aboriginal people.
Court also said she did not regret speaking out against same-sex marriage. "I say what God says and that's why I've spoken out," she said. "I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. "I have a right as a minister to say that. You look at the decline in the world today. I think it's so important for values and morals and righteousness to come forth like never before."
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
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