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Monday, July 5, 1999 Published at 17:58 GMT 18:58 UK


Council knew worker's sex attack past

Michael John Carroll arrives at court amid tight security

The employers of social worker Michael Carroll - who has admitted a series of sex attacks - knew he had a previous conviction for child abuse five years before they finally sacked him.

Lambeth Council has admitted its child protection officers found out in 1986 that Michael John Carroll, 50, of Oswestry, Shropshire, had indecently assaulted a 12-year-old boy in the Wirral 20 years previously - but they only gave him a written warning.

The BBC's Kevin Bocquet: Carroll made the boys do exactly what he wanted
Carroll, 50, who on Monday admitted 35 charges of child sex abuse over 20 years, had concealed the conviction when he was made second in charge of a children's home in the London borough in 1978.

It was discovered when he applied to foster two children in another borough and police checks were run on his record.

But he was only given a final written warning and allowed to stay in his job until 1991, when he was sacked for financial irregularities.

'Serious error'

Lambeth's chief executive, Heather Rabbatts, told a news conference that the decision not to sack Carroll was a serious error and would not happen under current legislation.

"If this sort of offence were discovered in these circumstances again there can be no doubt that this person would have been dismissed," she said.

"Knowing what we know today about the nature of these offences and the nature of those who commit them, it was a mistake not to have dismissed this man."

Kept in charge

The decision to warn Carroll, whose activities came to light after a complaint from one of his alleged victims in 1997, meant that he continued as head of the children's home.

Ms Rabbatts said current inquiries meant the council could not disclose whether Carroll committed any offences in the five years between the written warning and his dismissal.

[ image: Michael John Carroll pleaded guilty to 35 charges]
Michael John Carroll pleaded guilty to 35 charges
At Liverpool Crown Court Carroll admitted 24 indecent assaults, five cases of attempted buggery and five of buggery, and one act of gross indecency against 12 boys, some as young as eight.

The offences took place over a 20-year period between 1966 and 1986, while Carroll worked in residential care. Seven of the offences were against two children during Carroll's time working for Lambeth.

Carroll was originally charged with 76 offences but Tim Holroyde, QC, prosecuting, asked for the remaining indictments to lie on file. He said the 35 charges Carroll admitted were the "specimen of a wider range of offending".

The case has been adjourned for sentencing until 30 July.

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