The trauma to the parents who may not even know if their child has been assaulted and are having to fill in questionnaires about any distinguishing features is just unimaginable. And what of the little children themselves, what a truly wicked and disgusting woman. She is going to get one hell of a tough ride in custody!
From The TimesJune 11, 2009
Little Ted's nursery worker Vanessa George charged with child abuse
Simon de Bruxelles
Alpha Mummy: every parent's fear
Dozens of parents are waiting to discover whether their children were among those allegedly assaulted by a nursery worker charged with sexual abuse of those in her care.
Vanessa George, a mother of two, will appear in court today charged with seven offences, including two of sexual assault by penetration and two of sexual assault by touching. She was also charged with making, possessing and distributing indecent images of children.
Mrs George, 39, was arrested on Monday night after indecent images of children taken at Little Ted’s Day Nursery in Plymouth, were found on a computer disc seized by police from a suspected paedophile in Manchester.
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Police said yesterday that the photographs included pictures of children’s torsos taken on a camera phone at the nursery, where Mrs George is believed to have worked for the past two years.
So far, none of the children has been identified, and the officer leading the investigation said that some of them might never be. Parents of the 64 children, aged between 2 and 5, have been asked to complete a questionnaire and list any features that could help to identify individual children from the images.
Computers and other equipment seized during raids on the nursery, in the grounds of Laira Primary School, and on Mrs George’s home are being examined by experts from Devon and Cornwall police.
Chief Superintendent Jim Webster, the police commander for Plymouth, said: “It is a disturbing situation. As we go through the painstaking task of identifying who may be concerned, we are focusing on communication with the families we believe are involved.”
Russ Middleton, the head of Plymouth CID, said: “At this time we have been unable to identify any images of individual children and it is right to say some images may never be identified.” The number of photographs being examined by the computer experts could eventually run into thousands, Mr Middleton said, though he could not say how many had been taken in the nursery.
He added: “We have specially trained officers looking at the images. We have a large number taken from laptops and PCs but the starting point was from a camera phone. Some of these images were clearly taken inside the nursery but it is impossible to say where others were taken.”
Mr Middleton would not disclose in what capacity Mrs George was employed at the nursery or whether she had undergone a criminal records check.
Plymouth City Council said: “As a private day care nursery provider, the unit’s management would have a duty to ensure all staff had the appropriate CRB [Criminal Records Bureau] checks carried out.”
Paul O’Sullivan, the director of Health Services for Children and Families, said that a support line had been opened to provide advice to concerned parents.
Mrs George’s arrest followed that of Colin Blanchard, who appeared at Trafford Magistrates’ Court yesterday charged with possessing and distributing indecent images.
Officers searched a caravan that Mrs George owns at Harlyn Bay near Padstow, Cornwall, in addition to the family home in the Efford area of Plymouth. Police said that her husband, Andrew, and two teenage children had been taken into “protective care”.
Police will be speaking to the nursery’s 15 other members of staff but say they are not looking for anyone else in connection with the investigation.
Woman charged with sexual assault
Vanessa George was arrested at her home
A nursery worker has been charged with four counts of sexual assault and three counts relating to the distribution of indecent images of children.
Vanessa George, 39, of Plymouth, Devon, was arrested at her home in the Efford area of the city on Monday night.
Police said they believed some images found may have been taken inside the Little Ted's nursery where she worked.
Ms George is in police custody and due to appear before Plymouth Magistrates' Court on Thursday, officers said.
As well as the sexual assault charges, Ms George faces one count each of making, possessing and distributing indecent images of children.
Little Ted's nursery, in Laira, remains closed.
Russ Middleton, head of CID at Devon and Cornwall Police, describes the investigation
About 40 police officers are working on the case, including internet crime investigators. Children's care specialists are also involved in the operation, police said.
At a police press conference on Wednesday afternoon, Ch Supt Jim Webster of Devon and Cornwall Police said officers realised it was a "very sensitive issue" and a "significant and distressing situation".
Police said work was under way to identify the children in the images, some of which were found on a camera phone, but added it was possible that not all of them would be traced because some pictures were only of torsos.
However, Det Ch Supt Russ Middleton, head of Devon and Cornwall CID, told the conference: "It is safe to say we believe some of the images were taken in the nursery, but others... it is impossible to say where that may be."
The nursery remains closed
Police added that they were to carry out investigations on computer equipment that had been seized, and that a caravan near Harlyn Bay, near Padstow in Cornwall, had been searched as well.
Plymouth City Council and the NHS in Plymouth said that support would be provided for the children and families who used the nursery.
The council's director of Children's Services, Bronwyn Lacey, said about 95 families were being contacted.
She said: "Our plan is that today every family that we know about will have had either a phone call or a visit by a social worker and a police family liaison officer."
Police said they were continuing to speak to staff and parents of children who used the nursery.
About 100 people attended a meeting on Tuesday evening held by police and local council child care staff for parents whose children attended the nursery.
Bronwyn Lacey, director of Children's Services, says they have contacted families
Ch Supt Webster said: "Last night's meeting was well attended by those people associated with the nursery and we took the opportunity to allay their fears where possible and also further the police investigation into the allegations.
"We will continue to liaise with local groups and people associated with the nursery and are committed with our partners to update concerned and interested parties at the earliest opportunity."
Police gave no indication as to when the nursery, which caters for about 60 children, would reopen.
Ms George was arrested after Devon and Cornwall Police were contacted by officers in Manchester after a 38-year-old man from near Rochdale was charged in connection with the investigation.
The man, from Littleborough, appeared at Trafford Magistrates' Court on Tuesday charged with possessing and distributing indecent images.