6th October, 2021 8:13 am
Wellbeing Scotland have said it reported huge sex abuse ring – one of the biggest in Britain – to police but force says it has no records
A child abuse charity at the centre of a watchdog probe is facing claims it failed to report allegations of a paedophile ring to police.
It can also be revealed Wellbeing Scotland faced criticism when it refused to cooperate with the Scottish Government over anonymised data on abuse survivors it helped.
The Alloa-based charity, previously known as Open Secret, is being investigated by the Office for the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR).
The probe into the organisation, which is run by former Labour MSP candidate Janine Rennie, has been going on since the end of last year, with OSCR officials set to hold talks with Wellbeing Scotland bosses.
The Sunday Mail has learned police didn’t receive a report of a paedophile ring that the charity claimed it had uncovered.
A spokesman said: “It appears that no referral was made to police from the charity regarding these allegations.”
It comes after Rennie claimed, in 2016, that they had uncovered a huge paedophile ring in Falkirk.
She said her charity had found a cluster of 367 abuse victims dating back to the 70s.
Many were in sports clubs .
At the time, Rennie said she reported her findings to police but was snubbed.
She added: “Our information indicates a high level of reported multiple abusers in Falkirk, in one area of the town in particular.
“The number of people who have come forward is shocking.”
Also in 2016, Wellbeing Scotland was criticised by Deputy First Minister John Swinney for denying officials access to the charity’s records.
Latest accounts show Wellbeing Scotland had an income of nearly £778,000 in 2019/2020, with four bosses paid £223,000 in total. Over £712,000 came in grants via public bodies such as the Scottish Government and local authorities.
In 2014, Falkirk Council opened its own investigation into the organisation amid complaints of bullying and financial mismanagement.
The council, which had slashed its funding of the organisation, which provided counselling services for survivors, called in a consultancy firm to carry out the probe.
In 2015, the council decided it would no longer solely rely on Open Secret but put out counselling contracts to tender.
OSCR said: “We have considered a significant amount of information in the course of our inquiry and are looking to engage with the charity trustees.”
Rennie refuted allegations that her charity did not act transparently.
She said she originally helped a client make criminal allegations in 2009.
She then contacted police in 2014 after reviewing a database of abuse allegations.
She said she discussed with police her concerns of a paedophile network and passed an officer her findings.
She added: “The search highlighted 367 people who reported multiple abusers.
“The charity supported many people to bring these cases forward so the police are being clever in their response.”
Source: Daily Record, September 2021
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