In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, when Dumbledore shows Harry the memory of Voldemort requesting for the DADA post, we know that Voldemort’s followers had began calling themselves the Death Eaters, and people were beginning to fear using Voldemort’s name.

If people refused to speak Voldemort’s name, and there are disturbing rumours circulating about him, how wasn’t he under scrutiny?

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    Umbridge tortured children for a year at the most high-profile institution in Wizarding Britain. It's not illegal if you don't get caught, and you won't get caught if you're in good with the right people. – Nerrolken Feb 19 '15 at 18:52
  • im pretty sure, Dumbledore was the only one who know about lots of those things, because he has personally been tracking Voldemort this whole time. i think he says as much during the job interview. after the job interview i think is when it was known publicly who and what he was. – Himarm Feb 19 '15 at 19:05
  • Tom Riddle was also incredibly handsome and charming, before the use of the Dark Arts warped and twisted his features. He was generally well liked. – Jack B Nimble Feb 19 '15 at 19:06
  • @JackBNimble -- I personally don't know if I'd go so far as to say Tom Riddle was liked. I think he had a certain charisma about him which was attractive to certain people; he also had leadership abilities. There are many reasons why a person aligns with another person. I only bring this up because I can't think of an instance in canon that shows Tom Riddle as being genuinely likable. – Slytherincess Feb 19 '15 at 20:08
  • I haven't read this one recently so I'm a little hazy on the finer details, but in terms of JKR saying he was "already killing and doing some evil stuff" when he went for that interview - just because she stated he was doing that doesn't mean anyone actually knew about it, or knew with certainty that it was him who was doing it, right?... So maybe Dumbledore knew, or there were rumours, etc. but that's not necessarily enough to have summoned the aurors. Look at how the rest of the world didn't catch on to the Final Solution in Nazi Germany, or chose not to stick their noses in (initially)... – RuthP27 Feb 20 '15 at 1:32

Probably because people were burying their heads in the sand.

We see Dumbledore’s memory of his interview with Riddle. He words it quite carefully, only describing Voldemort’s dark activities as “rumours”:

“Yes, I certainly do know that you have seen and done much since leaving us,” he said quietly. “Rumours of your doings have reached your old school, Tom. I should be sorry to believe half of them.” […]

“And what will become of those whom you command? What will happen to those who call themselves – or so rumour has it – the Death Eaters?”

Half-Blood Prince, chapter 20 (Lord Voldemort’s Request)

Hearsay and rumour don’t make for a good legal case. Dumbledore probably knew these were more than rumours, but would have found it difficult to prove it to the Ministry. Look at Fudge or Scrimgeour – unless there’s evidence right in front of them, it’s easier to look the other way.

Remember also that the Ministry is probably dominated by pure-bloods and pure-blood ideology, which happens to overlap nicely with Voldemort’s following. And his early attacks were probably against Muggles and Muggle-borns, which means it probably wasn’t hard for the Ministry officials to overlook or ignore the rumours.

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    "Dumbledore probably knew these were more than rumours" - this is an important point. Dumbledore was the only one in the wizarding world who distrusted Tom from the start, and the only one who may have been interested enough to keep tabs on him. Remember that Tom doesn't expect him to know the name Death Eater yet. It could well be that these "rumours" didn't actually exist and it was a subtle way of threatening Tom with the power of Dumbledore's spy network. – DavidS Feb 20 '15 at 16:54

Dumbledore is not affiliated with or a representative of the Ministry of Magic.

At the time that Voldemort went to Dumbledore seeking a position as DADA teacher, he had a reputation, mostly terrible rumors without any substance, but not enough in the wizarding world to try him for or hold him for anything.

It was only after this, when he began to actively attacking the wizarding world, that a true 'war' began.

And let's not forget that if the head of the Ministry of Magic was anything like Fudge, he'd be incredibly reluctant to take any unilateral action against a single man, for fear it would reflect very poorly on him.

And because they were only rumors, rumors that Dumbledore largely knew to be true but rumors to the Ministry, they had no reason to be seeking out and dogging down a man who, although a bit suspicious, was not guilty of anything, yet.

  • "Dumbledore is not affiliated with or a representative of the Ministry of Magic." He was Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot, except during the events of the fifth book, although we don't know when he first took that title. – Mike Kellogg Sep 28 '16 at 21:57

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