Mind has apologised for allowing the chairman of the Paedophile Information Exchange, a pro-paedophile activist group, to speak at an event organised by the mental health charity in the 1970s.
Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind, said that the charity was horrified to have given "any sort of platform to such a despicable organisation as the Paedophile Information Exchange". He said: "Mind does not associate with, condone or endorse any pro-paedophilia organisations or individuals." The incident was uncovered during an investigation by The Times newspaper.
The Times reported today that the event, which took place in 1975, was a two-day workshop organised by Mind for professionals to explore the psychological impact of sexuality and attended by individuals who described their own experiences.
The newspaper said that literature promoting sex with children was available at the workshop and also highlighted an article published shortly after the event in Mind Out, the charity’s newsletter, that listed PIE as one of the "organisations to write to" about sexual minorities and included its address.
The PIE representative was not named in the Mind Out report about the event but The Times said the person had since been named as Keith Hose, then chair of the organisation, which was disbanded in the 1980s.
Farmer stressed that the charity has never had any formal relationship with PIE.
"The event was not designed to promote or justify paedophilia in any way, but rather to help professionals better understand the perspective of the people they worked with and treated," he said.
"We are not able to verify if any pro-paedophile literature was sold at this event, but if this was the case then that would clearly have been a mistake and regrettable. The article in our Mind Out journal is a factual write-up of the day’s events. We are appalled to learn that PIE was listed as an ‘organisation to write to’. This was clearly the wrong decision."
Mind said it would assist the government’s inquiry into historical child abuse by searching its archives. "We support the call for PIE to form part of the national inquiry into child abuse and we have set in motion a review of our archives to establish what further information, if any, we have about PIE, so that we can share it with the inquiry," said Farmer.