Paedophile advised on Home Office children's homes report

Aug 18, 2014

Peter Righton, founder of Paedophile Information Exchange, now at centre of historical abuse inquiry

Scott Barbour/Getty Images

A teacher who was forced to leave a job due to complaints of child abuse and went on to campaign on behalf of paedophiles helped write a Home Office report on the residential child care system in 1970, it has emerged.

Peter Righton, who died in 2007, has emerged as the figure at the centre of an inquiry into historical child abuse, launched by the government last month.

By the mid-1970s, he had become a founding member of the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE), which tried to decriminalise sex between children and adults. Then in 1992 he was fined £900 for possessing images of child abuse and was cautioned over an earlier assault.

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A cache of documents seized from his home after this arrest included evidence of a wide paedophile network and formed the basis of the upcoming abuse inquiry launched by the Home Office.

According to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Righton was credited in a 1970 Home Office children's homes report for "considerable" help in a chapter on the training of residential workers.

The report, which was authored by a Home Office advisory committee, led to major reforms of 1970s children's homes. Yet Righton had already left a teaching job due to complaints of child abuse by the time it was written.

A former care professional told the Today programme that Righton visited children's homes "all over the country" during the period that he was contributing to the project.

The retired worker claimed Righton had admitted to taking boys out and using "sexual" language with them. They said the words Righton had exchanged with the boys were "not something that you would have in a healthy conversation with a child".

The Home Office has declined to comment on the revelations, but referred to Home Secretary Theresa May's comments in the House of Commons in July. May acknowledged that the Home Office "failed to act on allegations of child sex abuse" in the 1980s and that public bodies and other important institutions "failed to take seriously their duty of care towards children".

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