Green Party Gets Child Abuse Report it Paid For
The clue to the depth and width of the long-awaited inquiry into the Green Party’s response to Coventry party member David Challenor’s conviction and imprisonment on 22 charges of the sexual torture of a 10-year-old girl, is the inquiry’s brief.
It is, in fact, very brief: last autumn the Verita consultancy was invited, at great expense, to investigate the party’s actions in response to the charges. That meant a narrow aperture, focused on who knew what, when and what they did about it.
The Verita report published on 10 January, has to be read, therefore, as much for the questions it asked and answered, as for what it didn’t ask or answer.
The Verita inquiry was not invited to address the context and culture which sustained the Challenors. It did conclude, however, that child safeguarding awareness was ‘low’. https://www.greenparty.org.uk/assets/images/national-site/Final report - Executive summary- cover.pdf
In 2015 a child reported David Challenor to the police. In 2018 he was tried. The court heard that Challenor dressed as a little girl called Lucy whilst he strung the child from a beam in the attic of his home - the Green Party’s registered Coventry address - electrocuted and raped her.
David Challenor and his wife Tina (also a Green Party member) had three children together. There had been social services concerns for most of the children’s lives, and child protection proceedings (unconnected to this case) before the police investigation in 2015.
Aimee left care in 2014, joined the Green Party, undertook male-to-female transition, * and tells me that she returned to the the family home in 2017 - that is, after the police investigation began.
David Challenor was interviewed by the police in 2015, charged in November 2016, and bailed. He himself didn’t notify the party or Coventry Pride, with whom he was a volunteer. Nor did West Midlands police, who conducted the investigation. Since safeguarding legislation requires all citizens to protect children from risk, Verita suggests that the Green Party take up with the police the failure to inform it.
Aimee Challenor alerted Coventry Pride and Green Party director of external communications Matthew Hawkins and executive committee former-chair Clare Lorraine Phipps (his partner) about the court case. Hawkins and Phipps replied sympathetically, as friends, and offered Aimee Challenor support. Hawkins informed a few others that a prominent Green spokesperson’s relative had been charged with offences, but didn’t identify them. *Neither did they specify sex offences - surely even worse. Hawkins urged anyone contacted by the media to be steered to him. So, the party – and certainly the leaders – may feel off the hook.
Hawkins and Phipps insisted that that they didn’t know Aimee’s father was a party member. Some Greens find this odd, given his active presence at party events, his support during Aimee Challenor’s ever-expanding trans profile in the party, his role as her election agent, and the use of the Challenors’ home address – the scene of the crime - as the Coventry campaign HQ. ‘It stretches credulity to its outer limits,’ commented a former national official.
The party’s code of conduct obliged candidates to disclose anything that might harm its reputation. Aimee Challenor did not inform the party of the developing case against David Challenor whilst his ‘involvement in the party grew over time and became substantial. Much of his activity was related to supporting Aimee, but he also acted as a member of the party in his own capacity.’
Low level awareness of child abuse
According to Verita, Hawkins and Phipps offered personal support and were concerned about reputational risk to the party, but they didn’t absorb the safeguarding (child protection) implications. Aimee Challenor assumed that David was not regarded as a risk because he had been bailed.
The Verita report concludes that party members had a ‘low level of awareness of safeguarding issues and risks.’ Aimee Challenor showed no interest in the charges or their implications, indeed offered him support and claimed that she was ‘rebuilding her relationship’ with him after returning home from a period in care.
‘Sheer self-preservation would suggest that she should know as much as possible about these matters,’ comments the report, ‘so that she could make well- informed decisions about her own actions.’
Any organisations associated with Aimee Challenor, notably Stonewall, must ask themselves about her poor judgement: her priority, she told Verita, was to ‘rebuild her relationship’ with a man who was, after all, alleged to be a serious sex offender. Challenor is still on Stonewall’s website as an adviser -
Verita criticises Hawkins and Phipps, ‘It is hard to believe that they did not raise the issue again with Aimee, or with other people in the party in subsequent months. They did not give any thought to the wider safeguarding implications nor did they consider informing the local party.’
Coventry Pride, by contrast, took immediate action: David Challenor was barred from his role as a volunteer. ‘The contrast between the actions Coventry Pride took and the Green Party took is stark,’ concluded the report.
‘Prioritising the safety of children and vulnerable people is an individual responsibility of every member of society. There could hardly be a bigger ‘red flag’ in this respect than someone being charged with 22 sexual offences. Irrespective of where the responsibility lies, one of the effects of the way this case was handled was that someone who had committed serious sexual offences was given roles of responsibility within the Green Party during a period of almost two years after a major safeguarding risk should have been apparent.’
After Challenor’s conviction in August 2018, the party put out a statement announcing that David Challenor was expelled and extending support to Aimee Challenor. Members were appalled – shocked by the scandal, and horrified by the lack of empathy for the victim.
Barricading the party against any attempt to connect the scandal to their political activity or ideology, proved to be no defence against Aimee Challenor’s fury when the party - under pressure - suspended her at the end of August, ‘Transphobia,’ cried Challenor.
Challenor quit the Greens, joined the Lib-Dems, and updated her profile picture with the Lib-Dem logo and a furry, cuddly toy: https://conatusnews.com/green-party-verita-report-challenor/
The Challenor case is to be investigated by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, which is inquiring into how institutions, including political parties, have dealt with child sexual abuse.
It should consider what the Green Party's head honchos have not: whether there was a ‘conducive context’ in the organisation. That would help address larger questions about the heavy promotion of Aimee Challenor, a young and vulnerable trans activist, a Green candidate and leadership contender, Stonewall advisory panellist and Coventry Pride trustee, all before the age of 20.
Both David and Aimee were associated with the triumph of extreme transgender ideology in the Green Party, Aimee moved the resolution passed at the Autumn 2016 conference: *'...the Green Party recognises that Trans Men are Men, Trans Women are Women, and that non-binary idintities exist and are valid...the green Party shall include, and push for further acceptance of transgender and non-binary people within all areas of society."
The Challenors *participated in virulent techniques to block en masse social media critics, particularly feminists. *Aimee Challenor confirms using her own blocklist @BlockTERFs (Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists), until it was superseded by @TERFblocker.
She initiated a crusade to silence and punish Sheffield Green activist and feminist, Andy Healey, a dj and youth worker who was alive to safeguarding concerns. Challenor succeeded in getting him suspended from the party.
The vilification of Andy Healey attracted the endorsement of Amelia Womack (now deputy leader) who supported Challenor’s efforts to make him shut up, and Sian Berry (now-co-leader) who in December 2017 boasted on Twitter that she had blocked him. Both erased their tweets after David Challenor’s conviction. Both have some apologising to do.
The Independent Inquiry might explore the impact of extreme trans dogma and bullying on the party’s capacity to think, not least about power, democracy, safety, good manners and madness.
It is said that the party couldn’t afford to expand the Verita brief. But it has spent nearly £40,000 of members’ money – funds the party can ill-afford – on a report that offers no analysis of its ramshackle but bullying structure and the tyranny of the trans cult. What the report does do, however, is let the leadership off the hook.
The Independent Inquiry might also consider * alleged wider Challenor ‘interests’: involvement with ‘furry’ networks that fetishise fluffy animals and adult-infant scenarios:
Although the Verita inquiry was given information about all this, the report does not address it – apparently, beyond its brief.
However, forensic party members – and others – have been tracking alleged connections for a while. Why, they wonder, did David Challenor dub himself ‘Baloo’ bear? Did Aimee link up with furry networks? *Aimee Challenor tells me, 'As a teenager I did have a furry character, it is not a community I am a part of now.'
Is the furry world’s fetishism a risk to children? What are the implications of the links swirling around social media between furry networks and ‘minor attracted persons’ (the current nomenclature for paedophiles)?
These questions are engaging the minds of party members who have felt alienated and silenced by the biology-defying mantra that ‘a trans woman is a woman’ (not a trans woman) and the doctrine that to debate gender ‘self-identification’ at all is transphobic.
The cruel irony is that while the perils assailing the planet are the zeitgeist, the Greens profile is wobbly and the party can’t achieve its project to break through the first-past-the-post electoral system.
The party’s internal complaints system is still jammed by demands for the expulsion of heretics. This has simultaneously cost a fortune in person-time and resources – a huge issue for a small and scarcely solvent party - and it has subdued inner-party democracy: disagreement is besieged by complaints processes that have been refined and ratcheted up by the trans lobby in the past year.
North Surrey Green activist and feminist Olivia Palmer has been expelled. And several party members - including me and prominent London Green Shahrar Ali - are wondering why demands for our expulsions, initiated by trans advocates, are still lumbering through the system. Why are they wasting our time, why are they even being considered?
All is not lost
The trans hegemony met an unprecedented mutiny at the party’s 2018 autumn conference in Bristol. Clare Lorraine Phipps’ management of the Green Women’s Group - a master class in bullying-by-chaos – provoked outrage. Now Phipps has been suspended over the Challenor case. So, too (for different reasons) her aide de camp Kirsty Jones.
Late resolutions were submitted urging a review of the party’s toxic gender politics and the culture of bullying. Usually, haggling over standing orders committee rulings is a minority sport, but this time these motions went all the way to a packed plenary meeting of almost everyone at the conference, where highly respected Green Party activists Chris Holt and Theo Simon eloquently commended them for debate. They won the vote. But conference organisers ensured that time ran out.
Nevertheless, it was a stinging rebuke to the trans orthodoxy and a warning that many Greens have had enough of authoritarianism and flat-earthism. It’s just beginning.