Paedophile Information Exchange

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The Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE) was a UK activist group, [1] founded in October 1974 and officially disbanded in 1984.[2] In January 2006, the Metropolitan Police Service Paedophile Unit arrested the last of its members on child pornography charges, with its then leader David Joy warned by his sentencing judge that his beliefs may preclude his ever being released from jail. [3]

Early history and activity

PIE was set up as a special interest group within the Scottish Minorities Group by founder member Michael Hanson, who became the group's first Chairman.

Since the majority of enquiries were from England, PIE relocated to London in 1975 where 23-year old Keith Hose became its new Chairperson.[2] Hose had connections with the South London group of the Gay Liberation Front (GLF). GLF thinking questioned the family as the basis of an economic, social and sexual system and certain sections of GLF favored the abolition of the age of consent; their youth group had staged a march in support of this demand (however, it should be noted that the age of consent for homosexuals was 21 at the time, in comparison to 16 for heterosexuals).

Paedophile Action for Liberation had developed as a breakaway group from South London Gay Liberation Front. It was the subject of an article in the Sunday People, which dedicated its front page and centre-spread to the story. The result was intimidation and loss of employment for some of those who were exposed. It later merged with PIE.[2]

This exposé on PAL had a chilling effect on PIE members' willingness for activism. In the PIE Chairperson's Annual Report for 1975-6, Keith Hose wrote that 'The only way for PIE to survive, was to seek out as much publicity for the organization as possible.... If we got bad publicity we would not run into a corner but stand and fight. We felt that the only way to get more paedophiles joining PIE... was to seek out and try to get all kinds of publications to print our organization's name and address and to make paedophilia a real public issue.'

A campaign to attract media attention was not effective at that time, but Hose's attendance at the 1975 annual conference of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality (CHE) in Sheffield, where he made a speech on paedophilia, was covered at length in The Guardian.

In the same year Hose also attended a conference organized by Mind, the national mental health organization, where it was suggested that PIE should submit evidence to the Home Office Criminal Law Revision Committee on the age of consent. PIE submitted a 17-page document in which it proposed that there should be no age of consent, and that the criminal law should concern itself only with sexual activities to which consent is not given, or which continue after prohibition by a civil court.

PIE was set up to campaign for an acceptance and understanding of paedophilia by producing controversial documents. But its formally defined aims also included giving advice and counsel to paedophiles who wanted it, and providing a means for paedophiles to contact one another.

To this end it held regular meetings in London but also had a 'Contact Page', which was a bulletin in which members placed advertisements, giving their membership number, general location, and brief details of their sexual and other interests. Replies were handled by PIE, as with a box number system, so that correspondents were unidentifiable until they chose to exchange their own details. Since the purpose of this contact page was to enable paedophiles to contact one another, advertisements implying that contact with children was sought and advertisements for erotica were turned down. The Contact Page ultimately resulted in a prosecution for a 'conspiracy to corrupt public morals'.

PIE produced regular magazines that were distributed to members. The original Newsletter was superseded in 1976 by Understanding Paedophilia, which was intended to be sold in radical bookshops and be distributed free to PIE members. It was mainly the concern of Warren Middleton, who attempted to make the magazine a serious journal that included extracts from sensitive paedophilic literature and articles from psychologists with the aim of establishing respectability for paedophilia.[2]

When Middleton ceased active work with PIE, Understanding Paedophilia was replaced by the magazine Magpie, which was more of a compromise between the proselytising of the earlier publication and a forum for members. It contained news, book and film reviews, articles, non-nude photographs of children, humour about paedophilia, letters and other contributions by members.

In 1977 PIE produced another regular publication called Childhood Rights. When the editor ('David') retired, this content was assimilated into Magpie.[2]

In 1976 both PIE and PAL had been asked to help the Albany Trust to produce a booklet on paedophilia which was to have been published by the Trust. This collaboration was 'uncovered' by Mary Whitehouse, who alleged that public funds were being used indirectly to subsidize 'paedophile groups'. The Albany Trust was partly supported by government grants. The Trustees decided not to publish the booklet, saying that it wasn't sufficiently 'objective'. A year later a question relating to the incident was brought up in Parliament by Sir Bernard Braine but, despite a statement by Home Office Minister Brynmor John that there was no evidence of public money going to PIE, the issue was drawn out into 1978 in the letters pages of The Guardian and The Times.

Government funding

In March 2014 evidence emerged that PIE had received grants totalling £70,000 from the Home Office, after a whistle-blower told police he witnessed a successful three year grant renewal application for £35,000 in 1980, implying that a similar grant had been made in 1977.[4]

Affiliation to the NCCL

By 1978 PIE and Paedophile Action for Liberation had become affiliated to the National Council for Civil Liberties, now known as Liberty, with members attending meetings. The organisation campaigned against newspapers' treatment of the Paedophile activist groups. Whilst affiliated with NCCL, PIE also campaigned to reduce the age of consent and oppose the proposed banning of child pornography. In 1976, in a submission to the Criminal Law Revision Committee, the NCCL asserted that “childhood sexual experiences, willingly engaged in, with an adult result in no identifiable damage” and that the Protection of Children Bill would lead to “damaging and absurd prosecutions”. Whilst PIE was affiliated with it, the organisation argued for incest to be decriminalised and argued that sexually explicit photographs of children should be legal unless it could be proven that the subject had suffered harm or that the an inference to that effect or to the effect that harm might have been caused could reasonably be drawn from the images themselves, with Harriet Harman (later deputy leader of the Labour Party) arguing that it would “increase censorship”.[5] NCCL had excluded PIE by 1983.[6]

Allegations against Labour politicians

A number of senior Labour Party politicians were linked in newspaper stories to PIE in December 2013, and again in February 2014, as a result of their involvement with NCCL at time of PIE's affiliation. The party's deputy leader Harriet Harman had been employed by NCCL as an in-house solicitor and met her husband, the MP Jack Dromey, then a member of NCCL's executive committee, while working in this capacity. In addition, Patricia Hewitt MP was NCCL's general secretary for nine years. The trio were labelled "apologists for paedophiles" by the Daily Mail.[7] The former chair of PIE, Tom O'Carroll, claimed the three had not attempted to expel PIE out of fear for the impact this might have on their careers at the NCCL.[8]

Harman denied she had supported PIE while at NCCL and the specific allegation that she supported a campaign for the age of consent to be reduced to ten, and expressed regret at the involvement of the NCCL with PIE.[9][10][11] She accused the right-leaning newspaper of both embarking on a smear campaign and of hypocrisy, making the counter-accusation that the Daily Mail sexualises young girls.[12] Dromey also denied the accusations.[13] Hewitt apologised separately, saying she had been "naive and wrong to accept that PIE was a counseling and campaign group".[14]

Legal action against members

In the summer of 1978, the homes of several PIE committee members were raided by the police as part of a full-scale inquiry into PIE's activities; as a result of this inquiry, a substantial report was submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions and the prosecution of PIE activists followed.

In particular, five activists were charged with printing contact advertisements in Magpie which were calculated to promote indecent acts between adults and children.

Others were offered lesser charges of sending indecent material through the mail if they testified against the five. These charges related to letters that the accused exchanged detailing various sexual fantasies. It eventually became clear that one person had corresponded with most of the accused but had not been tried. After the trial, it emerged that there had been a cover-up: Mr "Henderson" had worked for MI6 and been a high commissioner in Canada. Mr "Henderson" was later revealed via Private Eye to be Sir Peter Hayman. In 1981, Geoffrey Dickens MP asked the Attorney-General "if he will prosecute Sir Peter Hayman under the Post Office Acts for sending and receiving pornographic material through the Royal Mail". The Attorney-General, Michael Havers replied, "I am in agreement with the Director of Public Prosecutions' (Sir Thomas Chalmers Hetherington QC) advice not to prosecute Sir Peter Hayman and the other persons with whom he had carried on an obscene correspondence."[15] Dickens asked, "How did such a potential blackmail risk come to hold highliy sensitive posts at the MOD and NATO?" He also asked the Leader of the House (of Commons) to investigate the security implications of diaries found in the diplomat's London flat which contained accounts of sexual exploits"[16] There was much debate and condemnation in the World's press of these events.[17]

Steven Adrian Smith was Chairperson of PIE from 1979 to 1985. He was one of the PIE executive committee members charged in connection with the contact advertisements; he fled to Holland before the trial.

In 1981 the former PIE Chairperson, Tom O'Carroll, was convicted on the conspiracy charge and sentenced to two years in prison as the result of a “sting operation” in which an undercover officer befriended Mr. O'Carroll and systematically pressured him to provide him with child pornography over a three year period.[18] O'Carroll had been working on Paedophilia:The Radical Case in the period between the initial police raid and the trial. While the charges did not relate in any way to the publication of the book, the fact that he had written it was listed by the judge as a factor in determining the length of his sentence.

In 1984 The Times reported that two former executive committee members of PIE had been convicted on child pornography charges but acquitted on charges of incitement to commit unlawful sexual acts with children and that the group's leader had fled the country while on bail. It was announced that the group was closing down in the PIE Bulletin as of July 1984.

One-time treasurer of PIE Charles Napier is alleged to have sexually assaulted boys whilst a gym master at Copthorne School.[19] He became an English Language Trainer at the British Council and was convicted of sexual assault against minors in London in 1995[20] and investigated as an alleged member of a paedophile network operating in British schools in 1996. He set up his own school in Turkey and resumed English Language Training with the British Council after serving his sentence.[21]


In 1978–9, the Paedophile Information Exchange surveyed its members and found that they were most attracted to girls aged 8–11 and boys aged 11–15. In 1978, Glenn Wilson and David Cox approached Mr O’Carroll with a request to study the PIE membership. A meeting was held with the PIE leadership to vet the survey instruments and, after approval, these were distributed to PIE members in the course of their regular mailing. Wilson and Cox went on to use the data in writing their book, The Child-Lovers – a study of paedophilies in society.[22]

Relevance in the 21st Century

Despite the fact that PIE disbanded in 1984, the name still seems to have some power and crops up from time to time in discussions, even in parliament.[23] In the discussions of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Bill in 2000, Sir Paul Beresford had this to say, for example:

Lightheartedly, I should like to ask the Minister to put himself in the shoes of a well-known paedophile – perhaps we could call him Gary, and imagine a little more hair and some high-heeled shoes to add some character. As a paedophile, Gary believes that it is acceptable to have sex with children. He thinks that the bulk of society is completely out of step. He belongs to a group called the paedophile information exchange, and he and his disgusting friends use the internet to exchange data, ideas, names, photographs and even films related to their paedophile activities. That is all stored electronically, and protected by a sophisticated encryption system.

In December 2013, the UK Home Office ordered an enquiry after allegations that the Labour Party may have helped finance PIE.[24] Several British politicians including Harriet Harman (Labour Deputy) and Patricia Hewitt (Health Secretary) and a judge (Lord Justice Fulford) [25] were servery criticized in the tabloid press for their peripheral connection to PIE while they were working to promote civil liberty in the 70's and early 80's. The Daily Mail, a right wing tabloid newspaper in the United Kingdom notorious for inaccuracies, [26] printed several inflammatory articles related to PIE and it's past link (30 years ago) to the National Council for Civil Liberties. These articles appear to have been politically motivated propaganda with the objective of discrediting the more liberal Labour Party.

On March 22, 2014 the Daily Mail reported that, "The second senior judge exposed as a defender of paedophiles’ rights is also now under investigation. Peter Thornton, the Chief Coroner for England and Wales, faces a probe by the judicial watchdog after comments uncovered by The Mail on Sunday." “As a barrister, Mr Thornton criticised the prosecution of the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE) after its leader was jailed.” [27]

See also


  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Paedophilia – The Radical Case : Chapter Eleven ISBN 0-7206-0546-6
  3. Paedophile campaigner is jailed
  4. Mudie, Keir. "Huge sums of TAXPAYER'S cash 'handed to vile child-sex pervert group' by Home Office officials", 1 March 2014. Retrieved on 2 March 2014. 
  5. Labour faces embarrassment over former child sex claims
  6. Harriet Harman under attack over bid to water down child pornography law
  7. Guy Adams. How Labour Deputy Harriet Harman, her shadow minister husband and former Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt were all linked to a group lobbying for the right to have sex with children | Mail Online. Retrieved on 2014-03-02.
  8. BBC News - MP Jack Dromey denies paedophile group 'smear'. (2014-02-26). Retrieved on 2014-03-02.
  9. Harriet Harman expresses 'regret' over links to paedophile lobby | Mail Online. Retrieved on 2014-03-02.
  10. Norman Smith (2014-02-26). BBC News - Harriet Harman expresses 'regret' after Daily Mail claims. Retrieved on 2014-03-02.
  11. NCCL Statement - 24/02/2014 | IWC2. (2014-02-24). Retrieved on 2014-03-02.
  12. Rowena Mason (2014-02-25). Harriet Harman tweets Daily Mail website picture of girl aged 12 in bikini | Politics. Retrieved on 2014-03-02.
  13. Neil Elkes (2013-12-15). Jack Dromey fury at paedophile 'links' story. Birmingham Mail. Retrieved on 2014-03-02.
  14. Patricia Hewitt's full statement on the Paedophile Information Exchange. Telegraph. Retrieved on 2014-03-02.
  15. Sir Peter Hayman (Hansard, 19 March 1981)
  16. Edmonton Journal - Google News Archive Search
  17. The Weekend Herald - Google News Archive Search
  19. When I was at school
  20. Charles Napier presentation on 'The Innocence of the Young' at Sherborne School
  21. Former teacher jailed for sex abuse of boys
  22. Wilson, G. and Cox, D. The Child-Lovers – a study of paedophilies in society. London. Peter Owen (1983). ISBN 0-7206-0603-9
  23. Beresford, Paul: quoted from discussion of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Bill, Hansard, 6 Mar 2000 : Column 812
  24. Apologists for paedophiles: How Labour Deputy Harriet Harman, her shadow minister husband and former Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt were all linked to a group lobbying for the right to have sex with children
  25. High Court judge and the child sex ring: Adviser to Queen was founder of paedophile support group to keep offenders out of jail; Mail Online. Retrieved on 2014-03-10.
  27. Second top judge faces probe over 'defence' of paedophiles after links with controversial campaign group are exposed; Mail Online. (22 March 2014). Retrieved on 2014-03-23.


  • The Times, 17 November 1984, p. 4: "PIE member faces child pornography charge"
  • The Times, 15 November 1984, p. 3: "Leaders of paedophile group are sent to jail"
  • Wilson, G. and Cox, D. The Child-Lovers – a study of paedophilies in society. London. Peter Owen (1983). ISBN 0-7206-0603-9

External links