Allegations that a social worker had sex with a 16-year-old service user in a hotel in Amsterdam in 1985 have been dismissed by the General Social Care Council’s conduct committee.
“Mr A”, who cannot be named for legal reasons, accused the 67-year-old former social worker from Oxford of forming a sexual relationship with him when he was 16, which continued for about two years.
He claimed that, when he was about 14, the man also once took hold of his penis in the shower.
The social worker, who was employed by Camden Council, admitted taking the boy to Amsterdam as a “treat” and sharing a twin room with him, but denied having a sexual relationship with him.
The conduct committee took into account the fact that the social worker had an unblemished record for more than 30 years. This was supported by character references from professionals who had worked in the field of child abuse and who had known him since he qualified.
The committee said it was “bound to consider [Mr A’s] evidence with great care” because he had a diagnosed personality disorder and said he had been abused by other boys in a care home, children in his foster family’s home and by his mother.
No corroborative evidence
It was noted that, because the allegations were reported by Mr A 10 years after they were said to have taken place, there was no corroborative evidence to support the claims.
In addition, the social worker’s manager has since died, so there was no evidence from her regarding the trip to Amsterdam and whether she had approved it.
The committee concluded that the allegations of sexual abuse could not be proven, and that the trip to Amsterdam did not constitute misconduct.
The former social worker, who did not attend the hearing for health reasons, admitted in a written submission that “with the benefit of hindsight and in today’s climate” taking Mr A to Amsterdam appeared “naïve”.
But he added that there was no secrecy about the trip. His wife, manager, friends and colleagues all knew about it, as did Mr A’s mother.