Rebild Council cleaned house in its management yesterday in response to the mishandling of the long-term sexual abuse of nine children in the so-called Rebild case (Rebild-sagen).
Two managers – council ombudsman Erik Odder and social manager Søren Kjær – were dismissed, while the head of the council’s centre for families and the handicapped, Jette Christensen, resigned with immediate effect.
The firings were heavily criticised by trade union DJØF, which said that the three employees had been made out to be scapegoats by the council.
Rebild’s mayor, Anny Winther (Venstre), however, said the council made an informed decision and needed to “clean up” after the high-profile abuse case.
“An appeals board recently delivered a harsh criticsm of Rebild Council’s handling of the case,” Winther said. “That is why we wanted a social and legal staff investigation into the case, focusing on managerial responsibilities, that would allow us to turn over every stone and avoid similar tragic cases in the future.”
The firings stem from the council’s mishandling of the Rebild case, which is one of the worst cases of child sexual abuse in Denmark’s history.
Over a 16-year period, a 56-year-old father of ten sexually abused seven of his own children and two friends of one of his daughters. The family moved repeatedly, primarily in northern Jutland, before settling down in recent years in Rebild.
Rebild Council was heavily criticised for failing to forcibly remove the children from the home, despite repeated alarm bells from concerned teachers and daycare providers.
The man was found guilty on March 29 and sentenced to indefinite detention. He has announced plans to appeal the decision.