Stowmarket: Taxpayer paid for child sex suspect’s counselling

Tax cheat jailed

Tax cheat jailed - Credit: PA

Suffolk County Council spent nearly £900 of taxpayers’ money on counselling for a foster parent accused of child sex offences, it has emerged.

Suffolk County Council spent nearly £900 of taxpayers’ money on counselling for a foster parent accused of child sex offences, it has emerged.

Although the teacher and foster carer, who lived in Stowmarket, was convicted of sexually assaulting a child 18 years ago the details have only just come to light.

Papers and receipts obtained by this newspaper show the man – who can not be named as his conviction is now spent - was arrested on August 12, 1994, at his home.

In October 1995 he was jailed for eight months by Ipswich Crown Court after indecently assaulting a boy who had been in his care.

However, according to Suffolk County Council documents five days after his arrest he began the first of three two-hour counselling sessions with Barnardo’s between August 17 and September 9, 1994. The £45 per hour sessions cost a total of £270 plus £19.10 for travel expenses.

These were charged to the social services department.

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A memo dated October 5, 1994, from a project leader at Barnardo’s New Families Project to the council’s Children and Families department advised a senior official that it was anticipated there would be a need to extend counselling.

It added: “Given that enquiries are continuing, and that (he) has given a further statement to police, his need for support will continue for some time.

“(name) feels that it is a difficult time to end support. Would like your agreement to offer support for his next police station appearance on November 8.1.94 (estimate three hours) to be able to offer another interview in the interim and to explore local resources which he might use for ongoing help, therapy, or support.”

On December 5, 1994, another memo stated “the full 15 hours counselling has been used in relation to the above”.

It mentions dates in October, November and December of that year.

A signed form dated April 25, 1995, states: “Pay Barnardo’s from boarding out as per invoices. Total £832.26 for support to foster carer.”

Due to the passage of time and that none of those involved are still with Suffolk County Council, a spokesman for the organisation said it was difficult to say why taxpayer’s money had been used to counsel someone who was on police bail for child sex offences.

The spokesman said: “This case occurred almost 20 years ago so it is therefore very difficult to obtain the full facts.

“However, it was most likely the case that he was offered time-limited assistance from an independent adult care social worker until such time as he was charged or tried in court for the allegations made against him.

“Without further details, it is unfortunately impossible to shed any more light on this historic case.”