Others Are Urged Not To Suffer In Silence
Specialist lawyers at Irwin Mitchell have praised the bravery of those sexually abused by Council Education Boss Roger Dodds in coming forward to report his crimes committed back in the 1970s.
The assaults occurred so long ago and records of contact with the victims are so sparse, or non-existent, that a conviction could only be secured after a number of people had the courage to break their silence and come forward providing strikingly similar accounts of the abuse.
Dodds was a bursary assessor at Sheffield City Council and had responsibility awarding financial assistance from the Council to talented students. He abused his position of authority by forcing young men to engage in acts of a sexual nature in order to secure their schooling or university grant payments. One of those he targeted was only 15-years-old at the time.
The 83-year-old was sentenced to 16 years’ imprisonment in 2017 which was recently extended by a further seven years after people he was convicted of further assaults. Dodds carried out his abuse in his office at Sheffield City Council between 1974 and 1980.
Sheffield Crown Court was told that many of those he abused felt “powerless” to stop him because they feared they would not receive the grant they required in order to take up their specialist placements.
Although Dodds had a lewd behaviour conviction in 1963, he was subsequently allowed to work with children and even when the law changed in the 1970s requiring disclosure of criminal convictions, it was not extended to existing employees.
Those abused told the court how the passage of time made it almost impossible for them to have the courage to come forward. Many have never told their families about what had happened and lived in fear of not being believed if they made complaints so long after the event.
Sallie Booth, a specialist lawyer at Irwin Mitchell has experience in providing advice and support to those affected by such problems.
Expert Opinion"So often, survivors of abuse live in fear of telling their story, or blame themselves for allowing the abuse to have happened. As time passes, it becomes increasingly difficult to confide in the authorities or even in family members. Perpetrators are often so very calculating and manipulative that there is little objective or documentary evidence available to support complainants’ allegations.
“It is so important in circumstances such as these that survivors come forward and support each other both in relation to establishing facts which can secure a criminal conviction and in supporting each other through such a life crisis.” Sallie Booth - Partner
Irwin Mitchell has already been instructed by a number of survivors who were abused by Dodds. Lawyers have praised the bravery of those who came forward to report his further crimes and have helped to secure the latest conviction.