Child abuse inquiry hit by sexual assault claim

The Guardian

Haroon Siddique
Friday 28 October 2016

The head of the national inquiry into child abuse has been urged to publicly address claims that it covered up an alleged sexual assault by its most senior lawyer.

An inquiry worker alleged that Ben Emmerson QC sexually assaulted her in a lift at the inquiry’s offices in Millbank in central London in early September, according to BBC Newsnight.

He was suspended that month, over what the inquiry said at the time were leadership concerns, but the suspension was lifted the next day when he resigned, allowing him to keep working for the inquiry for two months.

Emmerson’s lawyers have said the allegation of sexual assaultis “completely false” but the claim has added to the turbulence afflicting the inquiry.

Tim Loughton, a Conservative MP who was chair of the home affairs select committee when it questioned the inquiry chair, Prof Alexis Jay, and other panel members last week, said Jay needed to address the allegations and restore confidence in its work.

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