A homosexual foster couple were left free to sexually abuse vulnerable boys in their care because social workers feared being accused of discrimination if they investigated complaints, an inquiry concluded yesterday.
Craig Faunch and Ian Wathey were one of the first homosexual couples in the country to be officially approved as foster parents. They looked after 18 children in only 15 months. With no previous convictions, they came across as respectable men who simply wanted to help boys with a variety of problems. In reality, they were paedophiles, who repeatedly abused the children in their care.
Even when the mother of two of the children reported her suspicions to the council, officials accepted the men’s explanations and did nothing. Instead of banning children from staying with Faunch and Wathey, they sent youngsters with more serious problems to them. Between them, the couple abused four boys aged between eight and 14.
In a scathing report published yesterday, Wakefield Metropolitan District Council was condemned for treating the men as “trophy carers”. The children’s charity Kidscape said those in charge of overseeing the safety of children in the care of Faunch and Wathey had allowed political correctness to override common sense.
The report, following an independent review of the case, said: “One manager described the couple as ‘trophy carers’ which led to ‘slack arrangements’ over placement.
“Another said that by virtue of their sexuality they had a ‘badge’ which made things less questionable.
“The sexual orientation of the men was a significant cause of people not ‘thinking the unthinkable’.
“It was clear that a number of staff were afraid of being thought homophobic.
“The fear of being discriminatory led them to fail to discriminate between the appropriate and the abusive.”
If ever there were a damning indictment of the perils of political correctness, there it is.
More, if you can stomach it:
Wathey, 42, was jailed for five years in June last year after being convicted of four counts of sexual activity with a child and one offence of causing a child to watch sexual activity.
Faunch, 33, received a six-year jail sentence after he was found guilty of five charges of engaging in sexual activity with a child and two of taking indecent photographs of a child.
The couple, who lived together in Pontefract, West Yorkshire, were approved as foster carers by the council in August 2003.
Their victims included a 14-year-old boy with Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism,who had a mental age of seven and was forced by Wathey to watch gay pornography.
Another youngster with a “very troubled background” was only in their care for a few weeks before being abused by Faunch.
But social workers had been aware of “inappropriate” behaviour long before then.
Just eight months after they started as professional foster carers a mother of eight-year-old twins, who couldn’t cope with raising them on her own, voiced concerns about them with social services.
While visiting the twins, the 34-yearold single mother was shown a picture taken by Faunch showing one of the boys going to the lavatory during a visit to Butlin’s holiday camp in Skegness and discovered a similar snap had been taken of the other twin.
A social worker took the photograph and promised a full investigation.
But the court heard that not only did social services staff lose the photo, they decided against contacting police after accepting Faunch’s explanation that he was trying to embarrass the boys into shutting the lavatory door.
Police later discovered that, days after the photos were taken, Faunch recorded an indecent video of the twins taking a shower. They began abusing the boys three months later.
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