Update: Now released and living in Dawlish
Babysitter jailed for child sex assaults
A babysitter who sexually assaulted two little girls as he pretended to be tucking them into bed has been jailed for eight years.
Kenneth Harry, 54, looked after the girls while their mother was at work but took advantage of his position to molest them. He forced one of the girls to take part in a sex act with him after allowing her to stay up with him to watch a DVD of the film Jaws.
He insisted the girls had invented the allegations, but a jury at Exeter Crown Court found him guilty of seven indecent assaults.
Harry, of Kingsway, Teignmouth, a former member of the Dawlish Carnival Committee, was cleared of three counts of rape but found guilty of the seven assaults between 1992 and 2002 when they were aged six to 15.
He was jailed for eight years by Judge Graham Cottle, who told him: “There is no doubt the impact on each of these girls has been considerable. They have to live with it for the rest of their lives.
“You used excessive chastisement on them. It was something that came easily to you. I have no doubt their evidence about that was correct.
“It was a gross breach of trust. You were trusted to look after them by their mother when she was at work. You got away with it for years but now you must be punished.”
After the jury returned their verdicts, Jonathan Barnes, prosecuting, revealed Harry had been cautioned by police in 2006 for sexual touching of a 15-year-old girl he met through his work with Dawlish Carnival.
Mr Barnes said: “That matter arose when he was 49 and befriended a 15-year-old girl at Dawlish Carnival and sent her texts and told her he loved her.
“We say he groomed her and they had sexual intercourse on one occasion. It came to light when her mother found out and he in a sense jumped before he was pushed.
“He went to the police and told them he had done something foolish.”
During the week-long trial the jury heard how the girls were frightened of Harry because he smacked their bottoms and beat one with a cane and a leather belt.
They remained silent about the abuse, which often happened as he was tucking them into their beds.
The girls said they had not wanted to revisit the abuse but then learned that Harry had started a new relationship with a woman who had young daughters and they feared their ordeal may be repeated.