Wakefield social services failed to act despite his repeated complaints
Branded him an 'unruly child' and father David Cannon a 'very caring parent'
David and partner John Scarfe eventually jailed for child sex abuse in 2006
Report slams authority for 'folly and gross misjudgement'
A boy sexually abused by his adoptive father and his gay partner was labelled an ‘unruly child’ by social workers who ignored his complaints for years, a damning report has revealed.
They sent Andy Cannon, now 23, back to the couple’s home despite his protests of abuse, praising the gay man who adopted him as a ‘very caring parent’.
The report accuses Wakefield social services, in Yorkshire, of ‘folly and gross misjudgment’. Mr Cannon, who was wrongly diagnosed with mental disorders and prescribed anti-psychotic drugs, believes he would have been listened to sooner if his adoptive father wasn’t gay.
The case ended last year, after half a decade of legal wrangling, when a court ordered a £25,000 compensation payment to Mr Cannon.
Mr Cannon, who now has two children with girlfriend Redeana Hammill, was adopted by David Cannon in 1997.
He and his mother, Elaine Moss, repeatedly complained to social workers about the abuse. In 2004, he was returned to Cannon’s care nine days after running away and making a complaint about him.
Cannon, 54, and his 31-year-old partner John Scarfe were each jailed for 30 months in May 2006 for inciting sexual activity with a child.
Mr Cannon said:‘I believe if my adoptive dad was in a heterosexual relationship then my complaints would have been listened to earlier.
‘It seems the council didn’t want to be seen as victimising gay people – they would rather look politically correct and let them get away with it to avoid any repercussions.
‘The council should have been there to prevent this from happening but they would rather just sweep it under the carpet.’ The report, conducted for Dewsbury County Court by a child welfare specialist, detailed how Cannon was allowed to adopt the boy, despite his mother accusing him of abuse at the time.
A social worker failed to report the allegations to a family court and instead called Cannon ‘a very caring parent who considered his children’s needs’.
Mr Cannon, who has waived his right to anonymity, said:‘When I told social workers they didn’t believe me. When I got home from school, if my dad was wound up by something I would pay for it with a beating. Then later on he would sexually abuse me.
‘I never really had nightmares because I completely switched off from it all – although I get nightmares now. I let it happen and thought that one of two things would happen. Either I’d manage to get away or they’d kill me.’
Wakefield council has apologised to Mr Cannon. A spokesman said:‘We are working with Andy to make sure that in making this apology we deal with all the concerns he has raised.’
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