LONDON (Reuters) - Eight men were found guilty on Monday of waging what prosecutors called an “utterly abhorrent” campaign of sexual violence and intimidation against young girls in the Rotherham area of northern England 13 years ago.
The defendants faced charges including rape, sexual assault and false imprisonment relating to three victims aged as young as 13 at the time.
A 2014 inquiry headed by Professor Alexis Jay - currently the head of Britain’s wider, national inquiry into historical sex abuse - found at least 1,400 children were subjected to sexual exploitation in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013.
Those convicted at Sheffield Crown Court on Monday were: Sageer Hussain, Mohammed Whied, Ishtiaq Khaliq, Waleed Ali, Asif Ali, Masoued Malik, Basharat Hussain and Naeem Rafiq. They will be sentenced on Nov. 4.
“Their victims were targeted, sexualized, and in some cases subjected to degrading and violent acts,” said Peter Mann, Head of the Complex Casework Unit of Yorkshire and Humberside Crown Prosecution Service.
“Sageer Hussain in particular took a leading role in befriending the young girls, and in the case of one victim, passed her on to his friends and other associates, assisted in various ways by the other defendants,” he added in a statement.
“These men’s actions are utterly abhorrent. They waged a campaign of sexual violence and intimidation against young girls.”
In February, a gang of six were jailed for a combined 103 years for their parts in the rape and sexual exploitation of girls in the town.
Reporting by Stephen Addison; editing by Costas Pitas