Thursday, April 25, 2013

UK - Anger after wrongly-accused man named on Cumbria Facebook site run by Keilly Devlin

Original Article

Yet another of the growing number of vigilante web sites that post bogus and out-dated information, and another reason the online registry needs to be taken offline and used by police only.


A man accused of being a child sex abuser was identified on a Facebook name-and-shame group despite being cleared by the courts.

His brother says the information was put on Communities Against Paedophiles (Facebook) Southlakes at the weekend. They only found out about the posting when someone approached his son and told him.

The Barrow man, who wishes to remain anonymous to protect his sibling, said his brother was in poor health and something like this could make him worse. The family have taken the decision not to tell him.

He said something like this had a massive knock-on effect on his family who still live in Barrow.

Detectives in charge of monitoring paedophiles in the Barrow area have already warned the website could pose a risk to innocent people who may be incorrectly named as abusers.

Earlier this month DI Nick Coughlan claimed CAPS was putting out-of-date information on the site and it could lead to vigilante attacks.

CAPS has offered its deepest apologies to the family of the man wrongly named on the site.

But the man’s 54-year-old brother said the incident had left his family deeply shocked.

He said someone approached his son and told him his uncle was named as a suspected paedophile on the site. The man in question no longer lives in Barrow and moved away after being cleared.

His brother said: “The people who run CAPS say they do their homework before putting things on the page," but they obviously don’t.

I’m not against this group – I think its a good idea and I’m sympathetic to what they are trying to do."
- We are against it, it's vigilantism, and the police should be doing this, not citizens.

My brother was accused of child abuse about six or seven years ago but subsequently found not guilty. His accuser had seemingly done something similar before. Obviously a report was published at the time of the case and it was this that was put up by CAPS but what they didn’t say was that he was found not guilty."

My son was out at the weekend and someone told him his uncle was online."

Publishing images of innocent people is really off. If he had seen it it would have really worried and upset him. He is a pensioner and not in good heath."

I’m just worried that this may happen to more people because CAPS hasn’t done its homework.’’
- We're sure it has, and they will continue until the police arrest them for vigilantism, defamation, etc.

CAPS administrator, 37-year-old Keilly Devlin (Facebook) said: “We as a group wanted to show people that we look at all sides, not just the guilty but the wrongfully accused too."

As a small town it’s not hard for whispering to start and we felt that we could put a stop to any of that. We were actually trying to help clear this man’s name. It was written above the link that the man was found not guilty. Maybe it wasn’t the wisest thing to do but we were just trying to draw a balance. The same way we name paedophiles we named this innocent man ."

We would like to offer the man and his family our deepest apologises for any upset that we may have caused. We didn't do it deliberately and it won't happen again.”
- Yeah right, I'm sure someone else will be wrongly accused as well.  You should stop what you are doing and let the police do their job!

Barrow police had not responded to a request for a comment.

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