BBC, June 17, 2016
Fifteen men who “systematically” groomed and sexually abused teenage girls in Halifax have been jailed.
They were convicted of child sex offences including rape, grooming and trafficking during three separate trials at Leeds Crown Court.
Prosecutors praised the “immense courage and bravery” of the two victims who gave evidence against the men.
The longest sentence passed was 25 years in what was described as a “complex and lengthy operation”.
The gang of men abused a young girl in Halifax and Bradford between 2009 and 2011, the Crown Prosecution (CPS) said.
Another victim was also sexually assaulted by one of the gang members.
Peter Mann, head of the complex casework unit at the Crown Prosecution Service for Yorkshire and Humberside, said: “These men are responsible for a range of crimes involving child sexual exploitation and abuse.
“One victim was sexually assaulted in a car.
“The second victim was groomed, and systematically exploited by the older men she associated with. Some of her abusers acted together as a group, grooming her and plying her with drink and drugs. Others took advantage of her individually.”
West Yorkshire Police said the abuse was first reported to its officers in 2012 by the victim, who was then aged 15 and living in Halifax at the time. A second girl who came forward gave evidence against another gang member.
The force said the case was “the largest and longest running investigation into child sexual exploitation in Calderdale”.
“It led to a major investigation with police conducting nearly 60 hours of interviews with two victims. Detectives also processed 1,848 statements, 2,963 exhibits and more than 20,000 items of disclosure,” police said.
In total 25 men were charged. During the trials four defendants were cleared by a jury while three others were acquitted on the orders of the judge.
Mr Mann described it as a “complex and lengthy operation” and said the girls had shown “immense courage and bravery in reporting these matters to the police and in providing evidence”.