April 2018

Telford sex scandal shock as social services chief is one of THREE councillors exposed as paedophiles

Three politicians are today exposed as convicted child sex offenders in “mind-blowing and disgraceful” revelations that will further rock Telford.

Relatives of murdered abuse victim Lucy Lowe, 16, were left reeling after learning one of the politicians had been jailed and two others had admitted their guilt.

Anglican vicar the Rev Michael Keen, 78, who sat on a Police Authority board, got 15 months for two assaults on a boy aged 15.

The same lad was assaulted by former councillor Graham Bould, 60, chair of Shropshire County Council’s social services from 1993 -1998 – when Telford’s child grooming epidemic began to spiral.

Victim Lucy was killed in a house fire in 2000 – started by the sex abuser who made her pregnant when she was 14.

Her sister and mother died in the fire too.

Lucy’s shocked uncle Ed Lowe, 50, said: “It’s mindblowing. It’s disgraceful.

“We always wanted to know why social services didn’t get involved in dealing with Lucy’s abuse. Now we have even more questions.”

The latest revelations will send shockwaves through the Shropshire town, already reeling from the scale of the grooming scandal.

The 15-year-old victim of perverts Keen and Bould poured out his torment in a childhood diary.

He said Keen, also a county councillor, was “aggressive and a manipulator”.

After Bould was convicted, the victim said: “I believed Bould was a friend, probably my best friend at the time, but he did not care about me. I was just an object of lust to him.”

A third politician, local parish councillor Graham White, took indecent images of a 14-year-old girl.

He admitted his guilt at the very time Telford was under siege from hordes of paedophiles targeting hundreds of teenagers.

Bould and Keen were convicted in 2001 and White faced justice in 2004.

But it is feared neither Shropshire County Council nor the police carried out an investigation into the men’s conduct – fuelling fears of an institutional culture of child abuse.

Bould was in charge of social services at a time when child sexual exploitation in the town was rife.

Council paperwork seen by the Mirror shows that in the late 1990s – though not specifically saying it was during Bould’s tenure – social workers became aware of the growing issue but claimed not to “understand” the problem.

Bould avoided a jail sentence after admitting his guilt.

He was handed a 12-month community rehabilitation order at Wolverhampton crown court in 2001 for two indecent assaults on the boy, who he first met at a church group.

He confessed he’d known the lad was just 15 but had become attracted to him when they shared a sauna following a game of squash.

Bould, who had been arrested in October 2000, stood down after 18 years as a councillor.

This included his stint in the 1990s as chair of Shropshire’s social services, which then covered the Telford area.

The social services team had become aware of the growing abuse problem but did little to protect vulnerable victims.

Telford and Wrekin Council was formed in 1998.

It commissioned a report in 2013 which said: “From the late 1990s professionals in Telford and Wrekin had concerns about the nature of some of the child sexual abuse cases presented to them.”

Bould’s victim believes the councillor and shamed vicar Keen colluded to stop him reporting the assaults to the authorities.

The boy was abused by the pair in the early 1980s – coinciding with the earliest reports of child grooming in the town.

Keen, who had previously sat on the police board for the West Mercia force, left Telford soon after.

But justice would catch up with him years later and in July 2001 he was jailed for 15 months following a trial at Wolverhampton Crown Court.

The clergyman, ordained in 1973, was found guilty of two indecent assaults.

He no longer lives in Telford. But Bould continues to play an active part in community life.

Until recently he served as the clerk of Sheriffhales Parish Council in Shropshire and was photographed three years ago with then Telford MP David Wright.

He also offers himself as a community organiser and fundraiser.

Meanwhile, his victim has told how he suffered two decades of depression and needed therapy following his ordeal.

Reports from Keen’s trial told how the victim broke down in the witness box as he recounted his ordeal at the hands of the two men.

The man, now in his fifties, later told a local newspaper: “Once they both realised what was happening, I believe they spoke about keeping it quiet. My feelings towards them both are now a mixture of hate and pity.”

In 2004 former parish councillor White, 75, pleaded guilty to four counts of taking indecent photographs of a minor.

He was given a three year rehabilitation order by Shropshire magistrates and ordered to take part in a sex offenders programme.

The court was told White had been a councillor in Madeley near Telford but had resigned the previous month.

His name was ordered to stay on the Sex Offenders Register for just five years.