A man now in his 60s claims that Edward Heath, who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1970 to 1974 and died in 2005, raped him when he was 12 years old in 1961. Officials are also investigating claims that a police department worked to hide allegations of child sex abuse from Heath in the 1990s.
The unnamed man claims that Heath picked him up as a hitchhiker in Kent after he ran away from home as a boy, then took him to a “very posh” apartment in London’s Mayfair neighborhood, where they had “full penetrative sex,” the Daily Mirror reports. The man, who according to the Mirror was later convicted of child sex crimes himself, said that he didn’t know who Heath was until he saw a picture of the then-leader of the Conservative Party alongside Margaret Thatcher in a newspaper, and that he was ignored by social workers when he reported the incident two months after it happened.
The UK’s Independent Police Complaints Commission, a national police watchdog agency, is investigating separate sex abuse allegations against Heath. The Telegraph reports that a retired Wiltshire police officer claimed last summer that senior officers in his department ordered prosecutors to drop a case that would have seen Heath’s name “dragged through the mud” in the 1990s. The defendant in that case, which was dropped, was the operator of a brothel who threatened to expose Heath, according to the Guardian.
The IPCC will work to determine whether an active coverup took place, and the Wiltshire Police department is asking anyone who believes they may have been a victim of Heath’s to come forward.
Greater London’s Metropolitan Police are also investigating Heath as part of Operation Midland, a larger investigation into alleged sex abuse by influential men in politics in the 1970s and ‘80s, the BBC reports. Tom Watson, a Labour MP, told the BBC that he referred allegations against Heath that he had received to the Met Police in 2012.