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News | 02 August 2023

Earlier detection of child pornography offence not likely, says external investigation

It is unlikely that the child pornography offence, for which a former employee at IES Karlstad is in custody, could have been detected earlier.

However, the Huvudman routine for handling abusive treatment of a student by staff can be improved, for instance by clarifying the workflow between school and Huvudman. Also, the legal obligation to investigate was not fulfilled in the harassment case in 2021 against the suspected person now in custody, which the Ombudsman for Discrimination (DO) previously stated. This is shown by the external investigation commissioned by Internationella Engelska Skolan.

When asked whether a different handling of previous cases involving the person now in custody could have led to earlier detection of the child pornography crime, the investigation states that it is not likely.

- We are very sorry for what has happened. The crimes committed by the previous employee have strongly affected a lot of families, as well as the rest of the students and the staff who were misled by the former employee. It is reassuring to get confirmation from an objective, external party that the school could not reasonably have discovered the person now in custody earlier. According to the experts, the type of crime this person is suspected of is extremely difficult to detect, even for people who specialise in crimes against children, says Jörgen Stenquist, vCEO and responsible for crisis management at IES.

- As Huvudman, we have full confidence in the school leadership and staff at IES Karlstad who have navigated the school through this difficult time, and the investigation is an important step in the restoration of trust in the school and its leadership also among parents and the public, says Jörgen Stenquist.

Where it concerns the other events connected to the now detained, they were investigated by the school in accordance with the routines in place for dealing with harassment. However, the investigation states that the routine for dealing with specifically staff harassment of a student can be improved, for example by clarifying the workflow between the school and Huvudman. Furthermore, it is the investigator's opinion that the fact that a few different events connected to the former employee came to the attention of the school, should at some point have prompted a renewed labour law assessment.

- It is difficult to see patterns while they are forming and we are talking about a few individual events and rumours. Rumours of this kind are problematic in a school, and we should at some point have made a new labour law assessment of the person's suitability. Here, as Huvudman, we can provide better support from a more holistic perspective, says Jörgen Stenquist.

The investigation also agrees with the assessment made by the Discrimination Ombudsman (DO) on May 30, that the legal duty to investigate was not fully fulfilled in the case of suspected sexual harassment in 2021. The investigation states that the case was investigated by the school, in accordance with the routines that were in place for dealing with cases of harassment with support from Huvudman. 

- The case was investigated and handled based on the information we had at the time, and with the best intentions. But it should have been investigated further, despite obstacles that arose, says Jörgen Stenquist.

- As principal and ultimately responsible for the school, I am extremely sorry that this has affected our school. I know there are students and parents who are upset and who believe that we have not done everything we could to prevent this. My focus now is to rebuild trust and continue to give all students the support they need. The staff at the school have been fantastic throughout the entire period, always focusing on the best interests of the students, says Brian Tucek, principal at IES Karlstad.

IES takes action
Internationella Engelska Skolan has comprehensive and rigorous procedures in place, in order to always follow the law and keep students and staff safe. The focus is on constantly further developing and improving operations. Therefore, IES will take the following actions, so that all schools within the organisation get even clearer support and guidelines:

• A more detailed routine for dealing with specific staff harassment of students, including the labour law assessment in such cases, and with a clarified workflow between school and Huvudman, are to be developed and implemented quickly by the Huvudman.

• IES is to review its way of working with complex investigation procedures, to ensure that investigations always take place with a holistic perspective and principals get the support they need.

• IES will conduct further training for all school leaders in what the legal duty to investigate entails in detail in harassment cases.

• As a preventive measure, IES is investigating the possibility of installing a special IT system that can detect the presence of child pornography within the IES IT environment.

- In this case, the crimes were committed outside the school, so such an IT system would not have affected how the person was exposed. But this is a preventive measure, showing we are doing everything in our power to avoid something similar happening again in one of our schools, says Jörgen Stenquist, vCEO and responsible for crisis management at IES.

- I cannot stress enough how sorry I am for what has happened at our school and so affected the students and their families. Our goal now is to continue to give the students the support they need and we will work together and have a plan to create a really good school year, says Brian Tucek.


About the investigation
The investigation at IES Karlstad has aimed to investigate three things. Firstly, if the school could have done something to detect the child pornography offence at an earlier stage, secondly; whether IES has sufficiently good procedures to deal with complaints of a serious nature about staff and thirdly; if the IES failed in handling such complaints against the detained person. The investigation has been carried out by the security company 2Secure.