An astounding story of police misconduct has been unfolding in Britain over the last year, as the press and the public have learned new details of the government’s decades-long infiltration of various political activist groups. Police officers, embedded in these organizations with false identities, are now known to have initiated sexual and romantic relationships with activists in order to gain information and establish their movement bona fides.

The latest such revelations are utterly mind-boggling:

In the mid-1980s married police officer Bob Lambert, deep undercover in the environmental and animal rights movements, engaged in at least two long-term sexual relationships with at least two activist women, one of whom became pregnant. Lambert was involved in the child’s life for two years before breaking ties with its mother, whom he never informed of his true identity.

And in another case an unnamed police officer deployed in a political group fathered a child with an activist, then disappeared from her life without warning when his assignment ended. Although he never re-initiated contact with either, he tracked them both through ongoing police reports on the woman, who remained under surveillance for her political activity.

Eight women duped into sexual relationships with undercover officers between 1987 and 201o are now bringing lawsuits against the London police force, charging that the officers’ acts were illegal and condoned by department higher-ups.

The sexual relationships were allegedly part of a larger pattern of misconduct in the undercover operations, which are also said to have involved officers listening in on conversations between activists and their lawyers and falsely testifying under their assumed identities at activists’ trials.