'Lost opportunities' to prosecute MP for sex abuse

By Steph Oliver, North of England Producer
There were "lost opportunities" to prosecute the late politician Sir Cyril Smith for child sexual abuse, a report has found. 
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse (IICSA) concluded there was an "unwillingness of those at the highest level" to recognise that Smith was capable of perpetrating child sexual abuse.
It also found that Lancashire Police's file concerning Smith was given to the Crown Prosecution Service in 1998, which advised that he should face no charge despite confirming there was "a realistic prospect of conviction".But the inquiry acknowledged there was no cover up or conspiracy in the way Smith obtained his knighthood.Smith was the Liberal MP for Rochdale between 1972 and 1992.Allegations of child abuse surfaced during his lifetime but he was never prosecuted. He died in 2010.
'Lost opportunities' to prosecute MP for sex abuse

Professor Jay said she hoped the inquiry had 'acknowledged' victims' suffering
The IICSA inquiry focused on how the authorities in Rochdale responded to allegations of child sexual abuse between the 1960's and 1990's.Boys as young as 11-years-old were being exploited at the council-run Knowl View School and Cambridge House Boys' Hostel in Rochdale as well as in the town centre.
They were not regarded by authorities as victims but instead authors of their own abuse, the report released on Thursday found."There was a total lack of urgency on the part of the authorities to treat the matters as serious sexual assaults," it said.Professor Alexis Jay who chaired the inquiry said: "After listening to the evidence presented by a number of victims and survivors in Rochdale at the time, I am deeply disturbed at the evidence of extensive abuse and the institutional responses to that abuse."Many of those who testified to their abuse have never had the opportunity to see justice through the courts."I hope that the public hearings and this report has offered them some measure of acknowledgement for their suffering".
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The inquiry also concluded that that they did not believe the evidence of Richard Farndell, the former leader of Rochdale Council, who resigned some weeks after giving evidence to them.They said his refusal to accept responsibility for events was "shameful".
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