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Inquiry launched into George Lord sex case
10:58am Tuesday 20th March 2012 in News
AN independent inquiry is to be held into complaints that Worcestershire County Council failed to properly support the young woman who made allegations of sexual assault against its disgraced former leader.
Dr George Lord was found guilty of sexually assaulting a council employee at a trial in January.
Now the council’s chief executive Trish Haines says an independently chaired inquiry will take place into how the situation was managed.
It follows calls from the father of Lord’s victim, who has requested an investigation into how his daughter was treated and supported following the assault.
She was just 19 years old when Lord assaulted her at County Hall in Worcester in 2010.
It has later emerged that hers was one of five complaints made against the former leader.
Her father has since accused the council’s HR department of failing to support his daughter, saying she felt ‘let down’ – an allegation the council denies.
“I feel the only way forward for our family would be for an independent inquiry,” said the dad.
He also criticised Coun Adrian Hardman, who succeeded Lord as council leader, for saying the case would “never have seen the light of day” 30 years ago.
In a statement released yesterday, Mrs Haines said: “Robust internal procedures are crucial to the county council’s business.
“While we are confident the situation was managed appropriately from the outset, we welcome the opportunity for third-party insight and would take any possible recommendations on board.
“I am already currently in the process of setting up an internal investigation into the processes followed and this will be chaired independently.
"We hope this voluntary measure underlines our commitment to employee welfare.”
However, the council is refusing calls from Labour group leader Coun Peter MacDonald for an independent inquiry into how they handled the allegations against Lord.
“Within just 10 days of the incident, an internal investigation had taken place and George Lord had resigned from the county council,” said Mrs Haines. “There is no value in another investigation to investigate the first investigation.”
Coun MacDonald said: “I believe most county councillors are ashamed to be associated with the county council when this could have happened to people. We must see why it happened and make sure it can never happen again.”
After being found guilty of the sexual assault in January, Lord admitted three indecent assaults against an underage girl between September 1977 and September 1979.
He remains in custody and awaits sentencing.