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Calls for inquiry into handling of George Lord sex case
1:50pm Thursday 15th March 2012 in News
THERE are growing calls for an inquiry into the county council’s handling of a sex assault complaint against the former council leader.
Worcestershire County Council says it sees no need to set up an independent inquiry into how it handled an allegation against its now disgraced former leader Dr George Lord.
Council chief executive Trish Haines was responding directly to the opposition Labour group leader Peter MacDonald’s call for an investigation into how the council managed the allegations against Dr Lord.
Last week Dr Lord was found guilty of sexual assault of a woman, then 19, who worked at County Hall in 2010.
A criminal probe was launched after she made a complaint to police, having already raised concerns with her managers.
Dr Lord is currently in jail awaiting sentencing, having also admitted three counts of indecent assault against an underage girl between 1977 and 1979.
Coun MacDonald said only an independent inquiry would restore “the confidence and trust both of the general public and our employees whom we are there to serve”.
“I strongly believe the council, without any delay, needs to commission an independent inquiry into how it managed what would appear to be a number of very serious allegations against Dr Lord.”
Trish Haines, county council chief executive, said the 2010 allegation was “swiftly and effectively investigated” and the council “saw no value setting up a further inquiry of the kind”.
She said: “Within a 10-day period, the results of the council’s investigations into the then unsubstantiated allegations were put to Dr Lord, and as a consequence he resigned immediately.
“Dr Lord's reputation has been damaged by his actions, but as a consequence of our swift action, I do not believe the council's reputation has been tarnished.”