Case against Deborah MacQueen 'not well founded'

Date published: 07 November 2017

A case against Deborah MacQueen, the social worker who was accused of failing to safeguard victims of the Rochdale grooming gang, has been ruled as ‘not well founded’ by the Health Care and Professions Council.

In disciplinary hearing for misconduct running over the course of several months, the former Rochdale council social worker faced allegations that between 2005 and 2010, she had failed to protect 11 vulnerable children who were groomed by the paedophiles.

Industry regulator, the Health Care and Professions Council, found Ms MacQueen guilty of one charge, which she admitted, of not ensuring an assessment was undertaken or recorded ‘in relation to any risk posed by Child 11’s uncle and his son, with whom Child 11 was living’.

56 other charges were not proved, for reasons such as lack of evidence or incomplete documentation. Some charges were withdrawn due to Ms MacQueen and her team no longer being responsible for the child in question by the date stated, to name one example.

The panel concluded that the ‘isolated incident’, in its judgment, did not amount to misconduct, and therefore the case was ‘Not Well Founded’ at the Grounds stage.

In May 2012, nine men in Rochdale and Heywood were convicted and charged at Liverpool Crown Court with offences including rape and sexual assault, conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with a child and trafficking a child within the UK. They were all ordered to sign the Sex Offenders’ Register for life and received sentences ranging between four and 19 years in prison.

Ringleader Shabir Ahmed was given a 19-year sentence and also jailed for 22 years concurrently in July 2012, for raping another child 30 times over a decade.

The horrifying ordeal, which saw girls as young as 13 plied with drugs and alcohol before ‘being passed round for sex’, was dramatized for the BBC in May, entitled ‘Three Girls’, which was followed by a documentary, ‘The Betrayed Girls’.

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