Page last updated at 12:23 GMT, Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Inquiry calls into sex abuse teen

Vale of Glamorgan Council
The Vale of Glamorgan council said a report on the case should be ready in two months

Calls for an independent inquiry into the placement of a teenager who raped and abused the children of the family he went to live with have been made.

The 19-year-old admitted rape and sexual abuse at Cardiff Crown Court while on a placement scheme for adults run by Vale of Glamorgan council.

The family did not know he had a record of sexual behaviour with children.

An urgent investigation is under way by the council which has admitted a "serious error of judgment".

The teenager was given an indeterminate sentence of imprisonment for public protection when he was sentenced on Friday.

Helen Mary Jones from the Children and Young Persons Committee: 'Something has gone wrong'

Vale of Glamorgan council had housed the teenager with the family under its adult placement service.

Plaid Cymru councillor at the Vale of Glamorgan council Steffan William said he was "horrified from what happened and the case raises so many questions."

"The only thing that can be done is to set up an independent public inquiry into what happened," he added.

He also said that there were numerous questions that need to be answered, including: "what exactly is the policy in this sort of case - why was the background of this man not known?"

And he asked: "Is it a cheaper option to hand over such a person to be cared for by a family rather than to house them in a purpose built unit?"

Allegations about the man's sexual behaviour were first made in 2004, when it was claimed he acted in a sexually inappropriate way to another boy.

In 2005, he is said to have sexually touched a boy while they were both living at a hostel in England.

Sexual assault

Last year, he allegedly sexually assaulted a 16-year-old while they were staying in the same hostel.

The man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the family's children, was sentenced at Cardiff Crown Court on Friday.

He will serve a minimum term of six years before he can be considered for release.

He was placed on the sex offenders' register and banned from working with children for life.

A spokesperson for the Welsh Assembly Government said it would only conduct its own investigation into the matter if "there were grounds for doing this" and following the production of reports by Vale of Glamorgan council.

The spokesperson added that it expected the council to discuss the case at the multi-agency Local Safeguarding Children's Board, which is responsible for ensuring the effectiveness of what is done by each agency in respect of safeguarding children.

"We will be monitoring developments closely to ensure the local authority follows the correct procedures and if further investigation is needed as to how this situation arose, we will consider this after reports have been received."

Stuart Greenwell, president of the Association of Directors of Social Services Cymru said: "The council has said a serious error of judgment was made."

He said people in this family's situation, "should be told the truth" about a person's background.

"If a person... does have a background in presenting risks to other people, that needs to be conveyed to the family," he added.

The Vale of Glamorgan council said a report into the case should be available within the next two months.

The authority has promised the family that they will be allowed an input into the inquiry and that they will be allowed to view the report before it is made public.

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