Glasgow Labour councillor banned over alleged child rape comments

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By a Newsnet reporter
 
A Glasgow Labour councillor has been banned from holding office over alleged comments he made about a case involving the alleged rape of a nine year old girl.
 
William O’Rourke, who represented the Greater Pollok ward, was suspended from the party last March after he allegedly suggested that the young victim may have been a willing participant and that the girl “wanted it to happen”.

By a Newsnet reporter
 
A Glasgow Labour councillor has been banned from holding office over alleged comments he made about a case involving the alleged rape of a nine year old.
 
William O’Rourke, who represented the Greater Pollok ward, was suspended from the party last March after he allegedly suggested that the young victim may have been a willing participant and that the girl “wanted it to happen”.

O’Rourke is alleged to have made the comments at a personnel appeals committee hearing into the case after the care worker who was dismissed for allegedly having sex with the child, O’Rourke is said to have asked if the girl “wanted it to happen” because no force was used and that she was not a “typical innocent nine year old”. 

He also made a comment about the child’s mother being a prostitute and went on what the Police Officer described as a ‘rant’ about promiscuous children and the need to lower the age of sexual consent.

Glasgow Labour were accused of closing ranks in order to protect O’Rourke after it emerged Baillies Jim Scanlan and Jim Todd were also present at the hearing, but had said nothing.

O’Rourke’s comments were only made public after a Strathclyde Police Officer who was a witness at the hearing reported concerns and an official complaint was lodged with the Standards Commission for Scotland, which regulates the behaviour of politicians. 

O’Rourke was then suspended from the Labour party after the report was leaked to the media.  He was also sacked from Strathclyde Police Authority, the personnel appeals committee and the boards of council-owned companies City Parking and Glasgow City Markets.

The incident is acutely embarrassing for new Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont who is the local MSP for the Pollok area and who is a member of the Pollok branch.

Ms Lamont herself sparked controversy last year after she described the appalling treatment of an apparent rape victim who had been forced, claimed Ms Lamont, to hold up her underwear when giving evidence in court.

However, it later emerged that the case had been a fabrication which had originally appeared in the Glasgow Evening Times – the paper subsequently issued an apology.

To date, Ms Lamont has failed to acknowledge her mistake which was used at the time in order to attack the Scottish Government over the low rate of convictions for rape.