Page last updated at 12:57 GMT, Friday, 6 November 2009

Nursery abuse parents get choice

Vanessa George. Pic: Devon and Cornwall Police
George is now due to be sentenced next month

Parents whose children may have been abused by nursery worker Vanessa George will be allowed to choose to find out if they were victims, a judge has said.

George, 39, abused children at Little Ted's Nursery in Plymouth, Devon, and made a string of indecent images.

Last week it emerged she had passed on some victims' names to her lawyer.

Sentencing of George and co-defendants Angela Allen, of Nottingham, and Colin Blanchard, of Rochdale, has been put back for more material to be gathered.

If they don't want to know, and I fully understand why some parents should not want to know, then the information should not be thrust upon them
Mr Justice John Royce

Police believe up to 30 babies and toddlers could have been victims of the abuse.

Last month mother-of-two George admitted seven sexual assaults on children and six counts of distributing and making indecent pictures of children.

At the time Mr Justice John Royce urged her to co-operate with police in identifying all the abuse victims in the photographs.

He also told her lawyer it would be the "decent" thing for his client to co-operate with police in identifying the abuse victims to spare the parents further anguish.

At the latest hearing at Bristol Crown Court Judge Royce said: "If parents want to find out whether their child has been abused, then they should be in a position to do so.

Colin Blanchard and Angela Allen
Colin Blanchard (l) and Angela Allen exchanged images with George

"If they don't want to know, and I fully understand why some parents should not want to know, then the information should not be thrust upon them.

"It should be a parental choice."

George, Allen, 39, and Blanchard, 38, are now due to be sentenced at Bristol Crown Court in the week beginning 14 December.

The three met on the social networking site Facebook then began exchanging messages and images via mobile phones and e-mails.

The abuse began in September last year and they were arrested in June.

During police interviews, George admitted her crimes were "disgusting" and "vile", but until last week she rejected pleas from police, parents and her own estranged family to identify the children.

Kathy Hancock, chairwoman of the Heart of Efford Community Partnership, in Plymouth, said despite the development that George had passed on names to her lawyer, many of the families remained adamant they do not want to know if their toddlers were among the victims.

"It's a lot for them to take on board and some just want to try to forget and get on with their lives," she said.



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