Leah McGrath Goodman is an American investigative journalist, author and former UK resident who was banned from the UK after launching an investigation into the alleged mass abuse, torture and possible murder of children on the island of Jersey – a British Crown Dependency and one of the world’s leading offshore tax havens.
The largest of the island's scandals made international headlines in 2008 at the Jersey orphanage Haut de la Garenne when nearly 200 victims alleged that the government had turned a blind eye to horrific crimes against defenceless children for decades. Evidence taken from the orphanage included the exhumed teeth, blood and bones of children. Then, in short order, our island’s chief of police was illegally suspended, our health minister was thrown out of his job and evidence of children’s remains were irreversibly compromised as Jersey’s government scrambled to shut down the investigation at all costs.
After succeeding in doing so, Jersey’s government, to this day, squanders millions from the public purse to try to silence and discredit its critics and, most appallingly, shield the accused from being brought to justice, a number of who remain in high-ranking positions working closely with the island’s children – free to strike again.
With the help of this international petition, we demand Ms. Goodman’s Tier-1 UK visa be restored so she can complete her urgent investigative work.
The people of Jersey are being denied the democracy they deserve. This should outrage not only members of the island’s public, but everyone in the international community who cares about truth, justice and the freedom of the press.
We are in need of a major overhaul of our troubled system if we are ever going to effect change. Please sign this petition to if you believe in the principles of a free and open democracy. We need a government that will work to protect our children and bring justice to the victims – not oppress them. On behalf of the people of Jersey, this is quite literally an S.O.S.
Every day that goes by without this problem being fully addressed potentially exposes our children to further abuses.
– Trevor Pitman, Member of Parliament, States of Jersey
“Author and journalist Leah McGrath Goodman watched the investigation and digging at Haut de la Garenne from her U.S. home with interest. As the national and international TV cameras turned away from the story, she remained interested and decided to write a book on the subject. She began making trips to Jersey to research allegations of cover-ups...She set up a meeting with the Immigration Service and says it was all going well until she told them what she was writing about...”
UK Member of Parliament John Hemming tables motion in support of this petition:
The Guardian: Jersey's secrecy culture and interview with Leah McGrath Goodman:
BBC: Interview with Leah McGrath Goodman:
Leah McGrath Goodman is an American investigative journalist, author and former UK resident who began researching reports of the breakdown of the rule of law in Jersey – a British Crown Dependency and one of the world’s leading offshore tax havens – after the island made international headlines in 2008 for the alleged mass abuse, torture and possible murder of children at the orphanage Haut de la Garenne.
Those accused of harming countless children under care include privileged visitors from abroad, the orphanage’s own staff members and prominent citizens of Jersey – some of whom, incomprehensibly, continue to work with the island’s children in high-ranking government positions.
Ms. Goodman successfully conducted her research until 11 September 2011, when the UK Border Agency detained her at the request of the Jersey Customs and Immigration Service. Absent any charges, Ms. Goodman was fingerprinted, photographed and stripped of her passport, phone, wallet and possessions and held in the basement of Heathrow Airport for more than 12 hours – past the legal limit – without access to a lawyer or the U.S. consulate. This was in violation of her human rights. She was then sent home and banned from the UK for two years (reduced to one year with the help of Member of Parliament John Hemming). She has been denied a new visa and right of appeal.
In order for Ms. Goodman to finish her research safely, she must receive pre-entry clearance from the UK – clearance it has so far declined to give her. Please restore Ms. Goodman's Tier-1 UK visa, so she might continue her research.