A teenager has been jailed for offences linked to Child Sexual Exploitation.
The 18-year-old, from Crewe, was sentenced to 4 ½ years behind bars following a hearing at Chester Crown Court on Monday 24th August.
He had pleaded guilty to 3 counts of rape of a child under 13, 6 counts of sexual activity with a child, 2 counts of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and 1 count of assault of a child under 13 by penetration at an earlier hearing.
The offences relate to 4 girls, aged between 12 and 14, and took place between in the Crewe area between 2013 and 2014.
They first came to light at the end of 2013 when one of the victims confided in a friend that she was in a sexual relationship with him. Her friend was concerned about what was happening to her so encouraged her to report it.
Officers were made aware of the concerns and launched an investigation. The teen was arrested in May 2014 and interviewed by officers.
During the course of the investigation further victims came forward and reported what had happened to them.
It became clear that the teenager primarily made friends with his victims via social media – sending them messages, building up their trust and arranging to meet them before engaging in sexual activity.
Detective Sergeant Ruth Atherton, who was involved in the investigation, said: “The teen groomed his victims and they became infatuated with him – believing they were in a relationship. The girls knew what was happening was wrong because of their age but were scared about how he would react if they did not do what he wanted.
“He manipulated and exploited them for his own sexual gratification – flattering them to gain their trust and using this to sexually exploit them.
“The girls have been left upset and angry about what has happened to them – this will stay with them for a long time. I would like to thank them for their co-operation and support throughout what has been a very difficult time.
“They have been supported throughout this process by specially trained officers and their family – and I hope that the successful conclusion of this case today helps to bring about a degree of closure for all involved.
“The defendant clearly thought he was above the law and could do what he wanted – without any regard for the girls. The sentence handed down today reflects how seriously the police and courts take offences of this nature. I hope his time behind bars will allow him to reflect upon his actions – and the consequences of that.”
Child Sexual Exploitation is an issue that Cheshire Police and its partners take extremely seriously.
A campaign was first launched in November 2013 and aims to provide a greater understanding of Child Sexual Exploitation − and the issues surrounding it.
Work has already been carried out as part of the campaign to raise awareness amongst young people about Child Sexual Exploitation, explain what it is and offer advice and support to victims, potential victims and their family and friends.
Work has also been carried out to raise awareness of the issue and encourage people to familiarise themselves with the possible signs and general behaviour seen in young people who are being sexually exploited as well as understanding the importance of reporting any suspicious activity or concerns - no matter how small.
The campaign is supported by a website - www.knowandsee.co.uk - packed with information and advice about the issue.
DS Atherton added: “Cheshire Police and its partners are united in the fight against Child Sexual Exploitation − and are committed to tackling this type of crime.
“We all have a duty to protect those who are most vulnerable within our communities and everyone continues to work hard to tackle the issue − to ensure the appropriate advice, support and safeguarding is in place for victims and potential victims.
“Many victims are too scared to come forward and talk about what is happening to them − some fear they will not be believed, others do not see themselves as victims.
“It is important to remember that there is not one type of victim or offender − Child Sexual Exploitation can happen to anyone. The impact of this type of crime is devastating and it can have long lasting and significant effects on all those involved.
“If you are concerned that someone you know may be at risk of child sexual exploitation please contact Cheshire Police on 101. Information can also be left anonymously, via Crimestoppers, on 0800 555 111."