TWELVE men have been charged in relation to grooming gangs in Rotherham.
The men, aged between 33 and 38, have been accused of rape and indecent assault. Their arrests bring the number of people charged in connection to the case to 21.
The National Crime Agency (NCA) clarified the most recent charges relate to eight victims, all under the age of 16, spanning a period of five years from 1998.
Senior investigating officer Paul Williamson confirmed that 21 men have been charged with over 94 child sexual abuse offences as part of Operation Stovewood, and the number is expected to rise as more victims come forward.
“Our focus is to bring lasting and worthwhile benefits for victims, helping to build better futures,” he said on Wednesday (4).
“We will listen to their accounts and investigate allegations made to identify and bring offenders to justice.”
The NCA has described the Rotherham investigation of one of the largest ever concerning non-recent child sexual exploitation undertaken by law enforcement. They further claimed the majority of suspects have offended against more than one victim.
The south Yorkshire town was the focus within Operation Stovewood, an investigation set up by the NCA, after South Yorkshire Police considered allegations of child sexual exploitation between 1997 and 2013.
All accused perpetrators are due to appear at Sheffield Magistrates Court on October 24.
The news comes days after Eastern Eye spoke with Detective superintendent Steve Barron, of Northumbria Police’s Safeguarding Department and Operation Sanctuary’s senior investigating officer who said: ““Operation Sanctuary looks the same today as it did yesterday and it’ll look the same tomorrow. I know there is still a job to do by Northumbria Police and our partners.”
Seventeen men and one woman were convicted of abusing young girls in Newcastle in August as part of Operation Sanctuary.
In a total of four trials, 20 young victims gave evidence covering a period from 2011 to 2014.