In July 2012, Alexander Mortimer, 30, was jailed for abusing two young brothers and taking indecent photographs.
A Significant Case Review into the incidents at the nursery in Lanarkshire by an independent local Child Protection Committee (CPC) has now been released. It has found that management at the nursery were made aware of “concerns”, but did not act. Some of these concerns were raised by other staff.
The report says of these issues, “It was felt that the response to these was confused with assumptions that others were being discriminatory about male workers. The kind of examples were of [Mortimer] not using gloves when changing nappies, and closing toilet doors when with a child.”
It goes on to say, “The examples raised were mainly ambiguous and not necessarily indicative of possible abuse intentions, but, as police contributors noted, they were about the breaching of protocols that were about protection and hygiene and should have been acted on on that basis.”
It has been revealed that Mortimer only had a ten minute interview for the position and assessors who visited the nursery graded him as ‘low’.
Intelligence led to the raid on his home, where police seized his computer and phone. The review says that Mortimer “had made regular efforts during the time of his employment there and in previous settings to befriend relatives and colleagues and thereby to gain access to children outside the nursery via activities such as babysitting.”
The report raises an interesting point that, although some of the issues noted by fellow staff members centred around hygiene, not abuse, reluctance to act on such concerns “can mean that abusers are aware that they have more freedom.”
Can not wanting to appear discriminatory against male workers in a childcare setting put people off reporting and acting on concerns? The review mentions Mortimer had just a ten minute interview; would a longer interview have really identified him as a threat to the safety of the children? Leave your comments below.