Pervert spared jail
A DECEITFUL pervert who slipped through the net designed to protect vulnerable children from Ian Huntley-style criminals has been spared jail.Even though Peter Carter, who is under a suspended sentence today, was banned from working with children under 18, he tricked his employers into giving him a job with Ipswich teens.
A DECEITFUL pervert who slipped through the net designed to protect vulnerable children from Ian Huntley-style criminals has been spared jail.
Even though Peter Carter, who is under a suspended sentence today, was banned from working with children under 18, he tricked his employers into giving him a job with Ipswich teens.
His case has led Anglia Housing Group, owner of The Foyer in Ipswich, to strengthen its vetting procedures when employing staff. However speaking about Carter's case, a spokesman for the company said it believed it had acted in the best way possible.
Carter, 47, of Grove Farm Cottages, Clopton, was cautioned after he tried to get young girls to perform indecent acts on him while he worked in a trusted position as a social worker and disqualified from working with children.
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That did not stop him from applying for a job to work with vulnerable teenagers at Foyer in Star Lane where he had access to girls and boys under 18 and deliberately failing to tell his employers, Anglia Housing Group, that he was disqualified from working there.
Carter pleaded guilty to working as a residential care home worker at Foyer between July 23, 2002 and April 28 2004 whilst disqualified from working with children.
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During a hearing at South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court on Friday Magistrate Jane Fiske told him he "deliberately failed" to tell Foyer of his ban.
"We find it incredible that it took three years for someone to recognise you for this matter to come to light," she said, before adding there had clearly been a failure in the vetting procedures.
"The offence would have been much more serious had the Foyer been used to house younger children.
"We do find it so serious that a custodial sentence would be justified even given credit for your guilty plea."
However magistrates took into account Carter's guilty plea and the fact he and his wife care for a disabled 20-year-old son and he escaped jail.
He was handed a four-month sentence, suspended for two years, for failing to disclose the disqualification and ordered to pay £70 costs.
The hearing raised questions of how Carter, who suffers from depression and anxiety, managed to fool his employers at Foyer into thinking he was eligible to work with under-18s.
His solicitor, Ian Duckworth, told the court: "He went through what he expected to be three police checks.
"Two of them never got processed it would seem and it was the third that flagged up the problem.
"He said he told them at interview, they said it wasn't a problem."
Both Suffolk Constabulary, the Crown Prosecution Service and Anglia Housing Group dispute that version of events.
Prosecutor Godfried Duah told the court: "The Crown's point of view is very clear that Mr Carter failed to provide that information to his employers."
Mr Duah said in his role as a duty night manager Carter cared for Foyer residents aged between 16 and 25.
Both Mr Duah and Mr Duckworth, mitigating, made it clear to the court that there was no suggestion that any indecent acts took place during the events which prompted the initial caution and subsequent disqualification in 2002 or during Carter's time at Foyer.
Mr Duckworth said: "There's nothing been suggested there's anything untoward. It's something that shouldn't have happened - he accepts that.
"In an ideal world he wouldn't have got in there in the first place."
Anglia Housing Group today revealed it has overhauled its procedures in checking staff to ensure people banned from working with children are not recruited to its workforce.
Carter was only found out when someone who knew him through his work as a social worker alerted his new employers to his shameful past.
A spokesman for Anglia Housing Group said that as soon as it became aware of Carter's ban it requested a check through the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and immediately suspended him.
On May 14 this year, 21 months after Carter began work at Foyer, the CRB requested police conduct local checks into Carter's background and soon after Suffolk Constabulary laid charges against him.
David Richardson, spokesman for Anglia Housing Group, said immediate steps were taken to suspend Carter when his past became clear.
He said Carter's ability to evade detection had led to changes in the way the company carries out checks on its employees.
"When this particular issue came to light we immediately suspended Carter and held a full investigation," Mr Richardson said.
He added: "We now have a positive attitude towards CRB. Not only are our staff that work with vulnerable people checked but every single member of staff that works with Anglia Housing Group is checked. This had the full agreement of our union.
"We certainly learnt lessons from this. The end result was a positive embracing of the CRB system.
"We feel we've acted the best we possibly could. We've left no stone unturned."
Anglia Housing Group said that at the time of Carter's employment the CRB had not been established and individual applicants were responsible to submit themselves for local police checks and to present a completed form to employers.
The company said it had thought such a check had been completed.
"When we established there was a concern there was an immediate suspension," Mr Richardson said.
"We immediately cooperated with the police."
Weblinks: www.anglia.org.uk, www.crb.gov.uk
N What do you think should be done to ensure those banned from working with vulnerable children cannot do so? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to email@example.com.