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Top police chief to reexamine UK child abuse cases

Associated Press Modified: November 6, 2012 at 11:01 am •  Published: November 6, 2012

LONDON (AP) — British lawmakers called Tuesday for a sweeping national inquiry into child abuse, amid mounting complaints that authorities for decades failed to properly examine allegations.

Claims that renowned BBC children's TV host Jimmy Savile abused hundreds of young people have prompted national debate, and led scores of adults to contact authorities about other, unrelated cases of sex offenses in the past.

In the latest case, one victim of a major child abuse scandal in north Wales in the 1970s and 1980s has alleged that investigations failed to expose the true scope of the crimes, and declined to examine accusations against a senior political figure at the time.

Steve Messham, who is scheduled to meet a Cabinet minister to discuss his allegation, said that he hoped the former political figure — who has not been publicly identified except as a member of the Conservative Party — would eventually face arrest.

"I would love to see him in court, I would love to see him in prison, he deserves it," he told BBC radio. The BBC did not name the political figure, and no one connected at the time to the party has ever faced charges related to the abuse scandal.

Prime Minister David Cameron, who now leads the Conservatives, has ordered two separate investigations into the abuse cases in Wales. One — led by High Court judge Julia Wendy Macur — will review the work of a previous public inquiry into the scandal, while a second will focus on whether police failed to take seriously allegations made by young people.

Home Secretary Theresa May said Tuesday that the head of the country's National Crime Agency, Keith Bristow, would conduct the policing review. May said Bristow's team would also examine new allegations reported to police about sex abuse in the past.

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