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14 May 2013, 19:18
Children's charities and religious groups have condemned the "horrifying abuse'' suffered by the Oxford paedophile ring's victims after seven men were convicted at the Old Bailey (14 May).
The NSPCC said the case had highlighted the "medieval attitudes'' held by the men towards the young girls who were raped and sold for sex.
The charity added that it believed the victims were "let down by those who were meant to care for them'' as police and social workers apologised for not protecting the schoolgirls.
Jon Brown, the NSPCC's head of sexual abuse programmes, said: "The Oxford grooming trial has been a grim reminder that even though we are living in the 21st century some people have retained medieval attitudes towards young girls.
"The barbaric treatment of the victims in this case was depraved, almost beyond imagination and must never be allowed to happen again."
The trial involved mainly Asian men targeting white girls, raising comparisons with recent sex abuse cases in Rochdale and Rotherham.
A group of faith leaders in Oxford criticised the "abhorrent and wicked'' abuse suffered by the girls but said they were determined not to allow the case to encourage "individuals or groups whose motivation is to stir-up hatred''.
In a statement, the Oxford Council of Faiths and Civic and Community Leaders said: "We want to make it crystal clear that child sexual exploitation is an abhorrent and wicked crime.
"Our thoughts are with those young people who have suffered, through no fault of their own, and with their families and carers as they provide vital support at such a difficult time."
Oxfordshire County Council said it was "deeply sorry'' the abuse was not stopped sooner.
Two of the three care homes where victims of the Oxford sex ring lived have been closed down but only one member of staff was sacked.
The girls would run away from the institutions - and carers supposed to protect them - and into the arms of their exploiters, who would call them on their mobiles while waiting outside in their cars, ready to ply them with drink and drugs and whisk them away to be abused.
The girls would return, sometimes several days later, in a dishevelled state.
Outside court, Det Insp Morton said the victims chose to give evidence during the trial to protect other girls from being targeted. He described the convicted men as ``vile predators'' who "groom, corrupt, isolate and sexually abuse their victims to the point of torture in some cases''.
Baljit Ubhey, chief crown prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern, said: "The abuse these girls were subjected to was truly appalling.
"No-one, let alone a child, should ever be exploited as these young victims were. To all who bravely came forward to provide evidence for the prosecution, I say a heart-felt thank you. You have enabled your abusers to face trial and be brought to justice."