Teenage girl allowed to keep link with 'groomer'
Rotherham child-protection service accused of 'catastrophic failure' by permitting relationship with adult offender
CHILD-PROTECTION services have been accused of "catastrophic failure" after allegedly allowing a child in their care to have extensive daily contact with a violent adult offender.
Arshid Hussain impregnated the girl twice and was suspected of grooming more than a dozen young teenagers to use and sell for sex – but he has never been prosecuted for a child-sex offence, claims The Times.
The newspaper describes the case as "the story of a man who stole childhoods, and a town whose care authorities wrote detailed reports about what he was doing, then sat back and let him get on with it".
The girl, referred to as 'Jessica', first met Hussain in 1999, just months after her 14th birthday. Hussain was 24 and married with two children. He had served two jail sentences.
While they were in a relationship, social services reportedly warned her parents that Hussain was among a small group of men suspected of sexually exploiting more than 40 teenagers in Rotherham, South Yorkshire.
Jessica's parents were unable to keep the pair apart and believed she would be safer in emergency foster care.
However, The Times claims that once she was in care, Hussain was allowed to be with her every day and was even permitted to attend medical appointments with her.
One social worker allegedly told the girl's mother that the local authority had "no power" to end the relationship as her daughter was "going with him willingly and would not make any form of complaint".
The case "lays bare a catastrophic failure of child-protection services", says The Times.
Now in her twenties, Jessica claims that her relationship with Hussain was a violent one and ruined her life. "My parents tried everything to keep Ash away from me, but I thought I was in love with him," she said. "When I went into care I stopped running away because I didn't need to any more. Social services let me see him all the time."
Hussain was unable to comment on the allegations owing to ill-health, while Rotherham council refused to discuss the case, citing "data protection" concerns. ·