Porn video man given custody of children: Council faces further allegations

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The Independent Online
SOCIAL SERVICES in Lancashire considered a man to be a suitable custodian of children despite knowing he had been arrested for running a pornographic video business at home and bailed.

The disclosure comes after the Independent revealed yesterday that at least nine families are alleging serious misconduct by Lancashire social workers. In one case, a woman, suffering post-natal depression has been barred by social workers from living at home because they consider her a risk to her children, although doctors disagree.

The man, aged 31, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was jailed last Friday after admitting 15 charges of possessing obscene videos for publication. The court was told that he was arrested on suspicion of producing and copying hard-core pornographic videos. Eleven video recorders were seized, along with about 400 tapes, one showing women performing sex acts with animals.

The man's Blackpool home was raided three times. In the first raid about 350 tapes were removed. He then broke his bail conditions and went back into business. The final raid was in November 1993.

The court was told that social services granted him custody of two children after he had been arrested. Social workers knew the circumstances of his arrest.

The children - those of his former partner - are now in care.

Lancashire County Council declined to say whether an any investigation had been started into the case. Among other cases which have been investigated by the Independent is the the allegation that a mother who has a history of post-natal depression has been barred unjustly from her home because social workers have decided she is a threat to her children. Two doctors have said she is not a danger.

Last night, Lancashire issued a statement on the case, saying that it was sometimes 'necessary to consider what alternative arrangements may be required to protect the welfare of the children.'

The five page statement addressed other cases already highlighted in the Independent. Lancashire said it could positively identify only four. In reply to allegations that a social worker had put pressure on one mother to have an abortion, it said: 'we would not give detailed information to anyone other than the person directly concerned about the detail'.

In reply to allegations that social services ignored complaints of abuse from children it had 'mistakenly' taken into its care, the council said: 'Further concerns have been expressed subsequently and are being examined currently'.

One mother claimed her 15- year-old daughter was being encouraged to go on the pill by social workers. The council said that it did sometimes offer advice if a person had frequent sexual relationships.

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