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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

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Youth charity launches probe into how it handled sex abuse claims

This news post is over 1 year old

An external HR agency will now look into how it acted

A youth charity will undertake an investigation into how it handled sexual harassment allegations.

Scottish Youth Parliament (SYP) announced the probe after admitting it did not contact police after serious sex abuse claims were made known to it.

Earlier this month, SYP confirmed that allegations about the conduct of its then chair Jordan Linden were made known to chief executive Ben McKendrick in 2016.

SYP confirmed to TFN it investigated the claims but found them unsubstantiated so did not inform the police.

The charity said the allegations were dealt with in accordance with its child protection policy at the time.

However, it has now said that an external HR agency will now look into how it acted.

The probe will be independent and will not involve CEO McKendrick.

Claims were made by five young men – one just 14 at the time - that Jordan Linden, who stood down as SYP chair in 2016, had sexually harassed them. One alleges that an offence took place during an overnight stay at an SYP event.

After leaving SYP, Linden, a member of the SNP, went onto have a career in politics.

He became leader of North Lanarkshire Council in May this year, but was forced to resign after the Sunday Mail revealed a teenager claimed the then depute council leader (below) had groped and sexually assaulted him at a party after Gay Pride in Dundee on 21 September, 2019.

The Sunday Mail has also spoken to young men who claim to have been subjected to abuse while Linden was at SYP.

It says that in 2016 the SYP launched an internal investigation when allegations about Linden’s conduct were reported to the chief executive McKendrick.

The tabloid says this investigation was carried out by a “private law firm”.

Alleged victims want to know why the allegations were not referred to the police as they involved safeguarding issues around children.

An SYP spokesperson said: “As agreed by the board on 4 August, SYP is conducting a review of the processes followed at the time these allegations were made. This review will be led by the SYP chair, an independent HR specialist from Magenta HR and an external advisor.

“The review will not involve the chief executive in any capacity, other than potentially providing evidence of the processes followed at the time.

“Until the review is complete, we will not be able to comment further.”