Rotherham Rape Gangs Review Results in Six More Convictions

Masaued Malik (35), Aftab Hussain (40), Abid Saddiq (38), Sharaz Hussain (35), as well as
National Crime Agency

Six men have been convicted of the historic grooming and raping of vulnerable underaged girls in Rotherham.

Masaued Malik (35), Aftab Hussain (40), Abid Saddiq (38), Sharaz Hussain (35), and two men aged 33 and 35 who cannot be named for legal reasons were found guilty of charges including the rape and sexual assault of seven girls under the age of 16 between 1998 and 2002, following an eight week trial at Sheffield Crown Court.

Saddiq was convicted of two counts of rape, five of indecent assault, and two of child abduction, while Sharaz Hussain, Malik, and Aftab Hussain were convicted of indecent assault. The two others were convicted of indecent assault and rape. The six men will be sentenced on Friday.

The National Crime Agency, the British equivalent of the FBI, described the victims as “vulnerable and craving attention and love” when they were “deliberately targeted for the sole purpose of becoming sexual objects for the men”.

Continuing in a statement, the NCA said: “At the time, none of them had the maturity to understand they were being groomed and exploited, believing that sex was some kind of ‘necessary price’ for friendship.

“They were given alcohol and drugs, belittled, and passed around to other men for their gratification, and were vulnerable because of their need to be loved. All seven suffer the emotional effects of the abuse to this day.”

All of the abusers lived in Rotherham and surrounding areas, and “a feature of their sexual offending was they would often act as a group, happy to share girls around amongst each other.”

The law enforcement agency detailed that all of the felons knew the girls were underage and would regularly park outside of the girls’ schools, waiting for them. They were also said to be often hanging around parks, bus stations, or in Rotherham town centre, seeking young girls to approach, groom, and sexually exploit.

Under the control of drugs and alcohol given to them by the men, the girls felt obliged to comply with the men’s demands, the six said to turn violent if they said no.

The jury heard that in one instance, Saddiq had raped a child in an alleyway when she was 14 or 15 years old, then taunted her mother over the assault.

These convictions are the latest for Operation Stovewood, with authorities estimating at least 1,510 underaged girls were groomed and raped between 1997 and 2013 in Rotherham. The victims were often emotionally vulnerable and from white, working-class backgrounds whilst the attackers were overwhelmingly of Pakistani-Muslim heritage. To date, 20 men have been convicted since the NCA took over the investigation.

While cases of the mass abuse being covered by the operation date back to the nineties, the issue did not come to light in the wider public conscious or in the mainstream media until the first major grooming and rape convictions in 2010. It was the Alexis Jay inquiry that exposed the scandal for what it was, and how that some-1,500 girls could have been abused for years without prosecution of their attackers.

The report revealed that the country’s institutions had failed because police and other authorities lacked sympathy for the victims; in some cases, police blamed the young girls for their own rape and abuse. Others, including council staff, feared pursuing cases should it resulted in accusations of racism, due to the fact that the child rapists were ethnic minorities.

Similar cases of gangs of mainly Muslim-Pakistani men grooming and raping white, Sikh, and other non-Muslim girls occur across the country, some accusations dating back to the 1970s, including in RochdaleOxford and Telford. Again, authorities were accused or were found to have ignored victims, blamed them for their own abuse, or were too frozen by “political correctness” to protect vulnerable children.


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