Charity suspends founder who had sexual encounter with abuse victim
Child abuse charity suspends 61-year-old founder after he admitted having a drunken sexual encounter with a former victim
- Peter Saunders, 61, of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, was arrested on suspicion of rape after incident in 2008
- He was never charged after CPS decided there was insufficient evidence
- Mr Saunders stepped down from his position on the Independent Inquiry
- The charity receives £350,000 a year from taxpayers
A charity for child abuse victims has suspended its founder after he admitted a drunken sexual encounter with a woman he knew was molested as a youngster.
The Mail on Sunday revealed last week that Peter Saunders, 61, of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, was arrested on suspicion of rape after the incident in 2008. However, he was never charged after the CPS decided there was insufficient evidence to prosecute.
Ahead of The Mail on Sunday report, Mr Saunders stepped down from his position on the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, the national investigation into abuse at schools, churches and other institutions.
Peter Saunders, 61, Founder of the ‘National Association of People Abused in Childhood’
His charity, which receives £350,000 a year from taxpayers, initially stood by him, with chairman John Bakker saying trustees learnt of the incident in 2008 and had ‘dealt with the matter properly’. But last week the charity changed its position and said: ‘It is with regret the board of trustees has suspended Pete Saunders from his role as founder and spokesperson with immediate effect. This period of suspension will allow a process of investigation into the issues raised by a story published on 25 August 2019 [in the MoS].’
Mr Bakker would not say why Mr Saunders had been suspended after the charity had insisted the matter was closed. Mr Saunders declined to comment. As the MoS reported, the 2008 incident at a Manchester restaurant took place after Mr Saunders arranged to meet a woman he knew was a victim of childhood sexual abuse to discuss if she might work with his charity.
Mr Saunders bought several bottles of wine during their lunch with the woman and her female friend, using his charity’s credit card. He told the MoS he had encountered the woman outside the restaurant toilets. ‘She pretty much took me into a cubicle and she performed what they call a sex act on me. I was too drunk to stop it,’ he said.
He denied sexually assaulting her, saying: ‘The incident was not as [the woman] alleged. It was a totally consensual, albeit drunken encounter, the shame of which I will live with for the rest of my life. It was instigated by her.’
He added that he was ‘deeply sorry’ about the incident.
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