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Daily rapped after jailed paedophile says PC wrongly named as rape victim

John Stephenson WrightA paedophile has won a complaint against a regional daily after it confused a child he had raped with another of his victims.

The Independent Press Standards Organisation has rapped the Manchester Evening News after the complaint by John Stephenson Wright, pictured, who is currently serving a sentence of more than 19 years for sex crimes committed against three children.

One of Wright’s victims, a policeman called Darren Kenny, had spoken to the MEN about his past ordeal after waiving his right to anonymity.

In the introduction to a piece on Wright’s unsuccessful appeal to have his sentence reduced, the MEN stated that he had raped an underage boy, who later became a police officer, and had abused two others.

But in his complaint to IPSO, made under Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice, Wright said his convictions for rape related to another individual, adding that he had been found guilty of sexual abusing Mr Kenny, not raping him.

In response, the MEN said that in light of the seriousness of the complainant’s convictions, it did not believe that reporting he had been found guilty of raping this individual, when in fact he had sexually abused him and raped another, represented a significant inaccuracy.

The paper said a member of its editorial staff had assumed that the individual who had waived his right to anonymity had been the individual who had been raped.

However the paper addd that once it had become aware of the correct position it had offered to publish a correction on this point.

IPSO found the MEN had not taken any steps to verify which of the convictions related to Mr Kenny, and that presuming Wright had been convicted for raping him represented a failure to take care of the story’s accuracy.

The Code Committee ruled that the correction should now be published to avoid a further breach of Code.

The complaint was upheld, and the full adjudication can be read here.

3 comments

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  • April 16, 2018 at 1:42 pm
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    “The paper said a member of its editorial staff had assumed…”
    Just don’t!

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  • April 16, 2018 at 9:19 pm
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    Even for the MEN to admit one of its staff “assumed” is distinctly poor and unprofessional.Whatever happened to accuracy and standards?
    Has the Editor seen fit to comment himself?

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