Revealed: sex scandal at home for boys

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The Independent Online
BOYS as young as eight were put at risk of Aids through prostitution and liaisons with known sex offenders after a complete breakdown of control at a special residential school, according to a health official's report which has never been published.

Over a period of several years, the management breakdown at the council- run Knowl View Special School in Rochdale, Lancashire, allowed gross sexual activity involving coercion and violence between some boys. Younger pupils associated with rent boys, and performed sex acts for money in public lavatories, while older boys serviced known sex offenders in flats.

The full story of Knowl View, which closed nine months ago,has never been made public, but is revealed in confidential council documents seen by the Independent on Sunday. It was "very difficult to believe", according to one document, that at least some of the staff were not aware of what was going on. Parents claim they were not told of the scale of the problem and have been angered at details only now emerging. Some families are threatening legal action.

At the height of the scandal, a known sex offender gained overnight access to the school and allegedly plied pupils with cider and cannabis cigarettes before sexually assaulting them.

One of the principal victims says he was never interviewed by the police. The teenager, who claims he was raped by the sex offender, was awarded a legal aid certificate last week to enable him to sue for damages.

Full story, page 5