In 1996 Peter Tatchell wrote Ian Campbell Dunn’s obituary in The Independent, which described him as “a pioneer for lesbian and gay human rights, remaining a central figure in the battle for homosexual equality – in Scotland and internationally – for 30 years”.
What Tatchell failed to mention is that in 1974, Ian Campbell Dunn co-founded the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE), a group that wanted the age of consent reduced to 4 years old and advocated sex with children.
In March 1984 the Sunday Mail, a Scottish tabloid newspaper, printed a story which alleged that Dunn “allows his flat to be used as the main contact address for Britain and the whole of Europe for paedophiles”. This was around the time the Paedophile Information Exchange were coming under pressure from Geoffrey Dickens, so it seems Dunn’s address was being used as a new contact point in case PIE was shut down by the government. Dunn denied knowing PIE official Peter Bremner, who published a paedophile magazine called Minor Problems, which was stocked in Dunn’s Edinburgh bookstore, Lavender Menace.
Three months later, Capital Gay reported that Dunn was suing the Sunday Mail for £20,000, and had launched ‘The Ian Dunn Defence Appeal’ to fund the libel action. I can’t find any further reference to this libel case in the Capital Gay archive, so we can assume the case was quietly dropped as all the allegations against him were true.
Not all of PIE’s active members fled to Europe when the police arrested its leaders. Some have stayed on, reproducing PIE’s networks of paedophiles on a reduced scale. Ian Dunn, a 45-year old local government planning officer was involved with PIE from its inception. He has set up and assisted two subsequent publications – Rain Makers UK and Minor Problems. Copies of Rain Makers UK from 1986 revealed it to be a gay contact sheet which also allowed the trading of pornography. Minor Problems was a direct continuance of part of PIE.
Minor Problems itself was set up by Peter Bremner before his conviction in April 1983. It billed itself as ‘a new radical review for free intergenerational and child sexuality’. It failed to disclose its involvement with PIE and attempted to attract subscribers through a mix of amateurish social-work jargon and a bogus claim that its publishers were ‘an independent editorial collective, not bound to any organisation or group, not adhering to any dogmatic theories, not limited by preconceived ideas, not working for any profits.’ For good measure it gave a false ISBN classification number.
Dunn allowed his Edinburgh flat to be used as an accommodation address for the publication after Bremner was arrested and PIE disintegrated in 1984. Subsequent issues of Minor Problems show it adhering to a thoroughly dogmatic theory that children have the right to be sexually abused by adults.
Dunn had always maintained that he was not a paedophile whenever reporters asked him about his activities, though he was frank about his homosexuality, and ran the Lavender Menace bookshop in Edinburgh. But a tape recording dating from 1986, of Dunn lecturing a group of students, contains the following admission: ‘I think the youngest person I had sex with was fourteen’. And an earlier letter Dunn wrote to Mick Licarpa, editor of Minor Problems, after Bremner’s arrest in the summer of 1984 is revealing:
“This letter is to let you know that David Rigby of News of the World is sniffing around the MP/PIE area yet again. Two reporters visited 52 Broughton Street (Dunn’s flat) last night and had several general questions. They wanted to know exactly how I tied in to MP, what I thought of the mag, how many letters did you get….what the Great British Public think of it all?
My response was brief: my flat was an accommodation address for MP only (not PIE), I was not part of MP (nor of PIE though I was co-founder with Michael Hanson in 1974); that I did have a letter published in MP (they had said copy with them – bought from Lavender Menace they said)….Phew. I showed them the door.
But of course they’ll dish up the dirt. I’ve been waiting for this for many years (wait till they get me for Rain Makers UK!), and you need not fear that I leaked your identity/ies!
With every good wish in common struggle, Ian.
Until recently there was an award for Scottish gay rights campaigners that was named after Dunn. In 2007 there were demands that the award should be renamed after a recipient discovered Dunn’s past associations with paedophiles.
Perhaps it’s time someone edited Dunn’s Wikipedia page to give a more accurate account of his interests. When writing Dunn’s obituary, Peter Tatchell should have taken the opportunity to distance Dunn from the rest of the gay community by being honest about Dunn’s support for paedophiles.
The PIE Manifesto
Leon Brittan and the Paedophile Information Exchange
Leon, Maggie, Elm Guest House, and the CGHE
How Margaret Hodge’s policies allowed paedophiles to infiltrate Islington’s children’s homes