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Seven convicted in grooming case

17 May 2013

THE conviction on Tuesday of seven men who groomed and sexually abused young girls in Oxford begs "huge questions about a society that claims to be civilised", the Bishop of Bradford, the Rt Revd Nick Baines, has said.

Of the nine men who were tried for rape, arranging child prostitution, and trafficking between 2004 and 2012, at the Old Bailey on Tuesday, two were acquitted of all charges.

Writing on his blog on Wednesday, Bishop Baines said that the "stories of intentional, cruel, exploitative grooming of young girls by gangs of men . . . beg huge questions about a society that claims to be civilised whilst allowing such behaviour to continue for so long. . ."

"Child sexual exploitation powerfully dehumanises both victims and perpetrators; the victims need to be defended and liberated, the perpetrators need to be held accountable and be reminded that moral accountability - integral to human being -demands justice. People are not commodities."

The Community Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation (CAASE) - whose members include the Church of England, the Muslim Council of Britain, and Hope Not Hate, an anti-fascist group - said on Tuesday that it was launching "a ground-breaking, cross-community response to the problem of 'on-street grooming by gangs'".

CAASE said in a statement said that it believed "that local and national grassroots and faith organisations are often best-placed to reach out into the communities most beset by this problem".

The chief executive of Hope Not Hate, Nick Lowles, said: "The evil that is abuse happens across all areas of society. This is not an issue of race or religion. . . We need to ensure that the media and far-right groups do not promote an anti-Muslim agenda over so-called 'grooming' trials."

 www.caase.org.uk

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