Police had quizzed council director – Rod Ryall (3.8.89)

The Times (London) 3rd August 1989
by Jill Sherman

A director of social services was appointed by councillors unaware that police had questioned him about allegations of indecency towards boys.

Dr Rod Ryall was later convicted of indecently assaulting two boys and jailed for six years.

An independent inquiry team concluded that Ryall, former director of social services for Calderdale council, West Yorkshire, would not have been given the post if councillors had known about his interviews with police.

The team, set up after Ryall was convicted, found that only his two superiors and the council’s legal officer knew that he was questioned in l982 about taking photographs of two boys in running shorts and vests.

They gave him a first and final warning when police decided that no offence had been committed, but the incident was not mentioned when Ryall was appointed director in l985.

“We believe that had the information about the incident been available, Ryall would not have been appointed,” the investigators said.

Mr Michael Ellison, the council’s chief executive, told the three party spokesmen on social services about the disciplinary hearing. The full social services committee was not told, however. The warning was erased from Ryall’s record 15 months after it was entered, under the council’s disciplinary agreement.

The report has recommended an amendment in Calderdale’s disciplinary agreement so records of warnings are not withheld.

“An applicant for a post puts in issue the whole of his record, both good and bad. There is no case for part of the record to be withheld.”

The report, to be considered by the council next Wednesday, said that even before his final appointment, Ryall was committing sexual offences against a boy aged 14, the son of two council foster parents, and committed offences against another boy while he was director.

He was sentenced at Leeds Crown Court to six years’ imprisonment last November.

The report recommends that for all future appointments of social services directors there should be an independent assessment by an outside professional and written references should always be taken up.

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