Crowdfunded Journalism

PIE Member No. 2

CassandraCogno Russell photo
CassandraCogno RussellWestminster
PIE Member No. 2
PIE created a network spanning the UK and beyond. With four inquiries into non-recent child abuse now established in England and Wales, Northern Ireland, Jersey, and Scotland, will PIE's proficient cross-border exchange of information be matched by inquiries' investigations into the network?
First advert for PIE / Gay News 56 / 17 October 1974

Amidst the political uncertainty of 1974, the three day week, two General Elections, a hung parliament, failed Lib-Con coalition talks and a second time around slim majority for Labour’s Harold Wilson, the public campaigning face of paedophile liberation was born. Four decades later and the manifold tentacles of the lobbying network still remain, for the most part, unexplored.

On the day Harold Wilson entered No 10, the Albany Trust received good news from the Home Office's Voluntary Services UnitThe Trust's application for government funding hadn't suffered due to the flux of power - far from it. Home Office Minister Lord Harris had decided to award a grant of £10k per annum (£108k in today's money) and would consider awarding a similar sum in March 1975 for the following year should Parliament agree. But the news was not all good. Any funds advanced were subject to one overriding condition:

"The grant is offered on the understanding that the Trust will give an undertaking that these public funds will not be used to exert pressure on the Government for any change in the law on homosexuality."

Considering the Trust had been established in 1958 as the charitable twin to the campaigning Homosexual Law Reform Society ('HLRS' - later broadened to become the Sexual Law Reform Society), the attached condition created considerable limitations on how the Trust could use the money. 

Gay News 57 / 24 October 1974

Within 2 days of the Home Office grant being awarded, Gay News reported that six weeks previously the Albany Society Ltd had granted £100 (just over £1k today) to the Scottish Minorities Group (SMG), ostensibly for counselling. 

As a member of Albany Society Ltd's Council of Management since 1972, Scottish correspondent for Gay News, chairman of the SMG and co-founder of PIE, Ian Dunn was both exceptionally busy and perfectly placed to ensure news of the SMG grant was reported in a timely and appropriate fashion. Timely, as in before news of the Home Office grant was reported, and appropriate, as in careful to specify a purpose other than law reform campaigning. 

If the Albany Trust were ever accused of giving Home Office money to SMG for piloting a newsletter creating a paedophile subscriber list it could be denied on the basis that:

(a) Albany Society Ltd had provided the funds not the Trust; 

(b) the precise money could not have come from the Home Office due to the discrepancy in timing and the consequent reversal in perception of cause and effect; and regardless

(c) campaigning for a change in the law on paedophilia was distinct from campaigning for a change in the law on homosexuality

No evidence that Home Office funded paedophile group, review finds, The Guardian, 7 July 2014

Home Office funded charities linked to paedophile group, The Telegraph, 7 July 2014

Home Office gave money to groups linked to paedophiles, Daily Mail, 7 July 2014

Groups linked to paedophile network given state grants, The Times, 7 July 2014

The Albany Society Ltd had first been established in 1968 as a fundraising arm and grant-making limited company to keep finances separate from the Trust itself.  

A recurring concern for Albany Trustees in supporting sexual law reform was their unlimited liability. The use of a separate legal entity (incorporated under the Companies Act 1948) was significant in the way it changed the obligations of Albany Society office holders such as the Dean of Trinity College, Cambridge Dr John Robinson (former Bishop of Woolwich) as compared to their role within Albany Trust. Trustees have fiduciary duties to act within the limits of the establishing Trust Deed and were unable to limit their liability whereas directors and officers of a corporate owe duties to shareholders and most importantly, could limit liability for their actions. 

Why limited liability might be an issue for Albany Trustees becomes clearer with the announcement of PIE's arrival in the SMG newsletter. It gave a more honest account of its intentions to its Scottish readership. SMG labelled the gay community bigoted for believing pederasts/paedophiles assault or 'lead' children 'astray' and castigated gay activists for attempting to disassociate gay liberation from paedophile liberation. Most notably SMG declared paedophilia a sexual orientation as opposed to an illness or a desire to commit criminal acts - a sign that paedophile liberation would attempt, where possible, to mimic the battle strategy of the fight for gay rights - to first remove those exhibiting certain behaviours or self-identifying from the interference of doctors and psychiatrists and instead place the onus on society's need to adapt.

Finally, in a sentence which captures well the exploitative disregard for the issue of consent or capacity for consent from children, SMG's newest special interest group declared:

'... the child-molestor is no more typical of paedophiles than the rapist is of heterosexual men.'

Although PIE was only intending to assist those in legal difficulties for 'sexual acts which took place with the boy's consent', as we shall come to see, by 1977 the future founding Director of the Prince's Trust for Young People, Sir Harold Haywood OBE, was helping PIE coax into existence a Q&A booklet which advised that paedophiles were somehow uniquely placed in their ability to discern consent for sexual activity from non-verbal and pre-verbal children. The 1975 PIE Manifesto and its position for abolishing the age of consent would reflect the paedophile belief that, short of actual physical violence used against children, all sexual behaviour belonged to the private sphere where criminal law should not intervene, no matter the age of the child.

Scottish Minorities Group Monthly Newsletter October 1974

Dr Michael Coulson

In 1970 when a 25 year old Ian Dunn had first moved to Edinburgh from Glasgow to study at Heriot-Watt University, his English mentor for the past three years had been Antony Grey - a National Council of Civil Liberties Executive Committee member, Secretary of the HLRS and Albany Society Ltd and Managing Trustee of the Albany Trust. In 1967 Dunn had approached Grey to see whether he could establish a Scottish branch of the HLRS and under Grey's watchful eye the broader Scottish Minorities Group had been established instead. By 1974 Dunn was in his first serious relationship with another man - Dr Michael Coulson - his Deputy Chairman of SMG and Professor of Sanskrit at the University of Edinburgh.

Dr Michael Coulson's role was as campaign manager for SMG, responsible for lobbying. In the same issue of Gay News announcing the Albany Society Ltd grant to SMG, he asked social workers and social work organisations to get in touch with him at his address in Edinburgh.

Gay News 57 / 24 October 1974

During the early 1950s, before studying Sanskrit at Trinity College Cambridge, Coulson had been educated at St. Paul's School, Barnes. In June 2014 Operation Winthorpe reportedly had 18 St Paul's masters (dead and alive) under investigation for child abuse. Former 70s pupil Benjamin Ross has written about the school requirement that boys' name tags be sewn into the front of their swimming trunks, allowing the swimming master the pretence of name tag inspections and asked of this practice,

Could the reason, which seemed so obscure then, really be so blindingly, pathetically obvious now?

Another St Paul's alumnus who attended during the early 80s, Ed Vaizey MP the current Culture Minister, has stated St Paul's teachers were 'massively inappropriate' when I was at school there [Evening Standard, 31 October 2014].

On 16 October 1975 Coulson committed suicide, drowning after an overdose of sleeping tablets. Obituaries paying tribute to his talent for Sanskrit and fearless work for SMG were published in The Times (27 October 1975) and Gay News No. 82. A third was published in PIE Newsletter No.8, revealing Dr Michael Coulson as PIE member No.2

"As reported in 'Gay News' No.82, the death occurred on Oct. 16th of Dr. Michael Coulson (39), the deputy chairman of the 'Scottish Minorities Group' and a prominent campaigner for the cause of gay liberation. Dr Coulson's death resulted from an overdose of sleeping pills, and drowning.

He was also a respected scholar, and a leading authority on the language of Sanskrit which he taught at Edinburgh University when he became a lecturer there in 1963. The Sanskrit course, which he pioneered, is now in use at both Oxford and Edinburgh. In addition, Michael was the author of 'Teach Yourself Sanskrit', and was responsible for a volume of translations in Penguin Classics. Much of his other work remains unpublished.

But some of Michael's greatest work was in the field of gay liberation and law reform, and it was his successful resolution to the 1974 CHE Malvern Conference which resulted in the drafting of the joint CHE/SMG/USFI Bill which seeks to lower the age of consent to 16 years.

Dr Coulson was one of PIE's first members (No.2) - and when the formation of the paedophile group was proposed by three members of the SMG, Michael gave the project his total support ... PIE has sent a message of sympathy to the Scottish Minorities Group c/o: Ian Dunn."

PIE Newsletter No.8 / p3-4

#Dr Michael Coulson, #University of Edinburgh, #Paedophile Information Exchange, #Ian Dunn, #Scottish Minorities Group, #Trinity College Cambridge, #Antony Grey, #Bishop of Woolwich, #Albany Trust