Staff are warned after email fun goes thong

AN INTERNAL investigation has begun into how a mentally disabled boy was sent a pornographic email by a volunteer social worker at North Somerset Council.

AN INTERNAL investigation has begun into how a mentally disabled boy was sent a pornographic email by a volunteer social worker at North Somerset Council.

James Lyons, who has severe learning disabilities, received an email from a 'buddy' who works with the children and young people's services team.

The email, seen by the Weston & Somerset Mercury, shows two photographs of men in thongs, with one of them exposing himself.

James's father, Andy Lyons, has written to the department's director, Colin Diamond, urging him to hold a 'full investigation' and issue an apology.


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The email was accidentally sent by the buddy to an account used by 12-year-old James and his other siblings, including Chris, aged 15, Jessica aged 10 and five-year-old George.

The worker, who gives company and support to disabled children, was originally sent the email from a council employee within the children and young people's team and eight other names on the email thread are from the department.

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Mr Lyons, aged 41 and a father-of-four, said: "I think it is horrendous this happened. They are meant to be mentors for young people with disabilities. We feel that at a time when social services is struggling to provide services due to financial constraints your colleagues' time would be better spent dealing with issues at hand rather than sending emails like this to their friends."

An email sent to the individuals involved by the disabled children's team manager, Rosemary Ward, said: "We provide a professional service to families and this discredits the work we do and have quite rightly received a complaint from the father of this young man.

"I do not expect this sort of thing to be happening. Only emails relating to work should be forwarded and if you receive any inappropriate emails please delete them."

Ms Ward has also spoken to the council's IT staff about upgrading computer screening facilities.

A council spokesman said: "We are taking this matter very seriously and are conducting a full investigation into the incident. The manager of the family support - disabled children's team contacted the child's father as soon as she was made aware of the email to offer a full apology.

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