April 2007

Teen abused by youth worker


A vocational trainer has been dubbed a “sexual predator” by a judge after admitting an affair with a 16-year-old girl.

Married Gary Bartle (44) began a passionate two-month affair with a student he met at an educational establishment in Yorkshire.

He befriended her as a confidant and listened to her problems – then began sending her sexually-suggestive text messages and became ‘over-friendly and flirty’.

He met the teenager at the educational centre, where he worked, and had sex with her.

Mr Bartle (44), of Howden, pleaded guilty to two charges of abuse of a position of trust.

Prosecuting at Hull Crown Court barrister Mark Bury said: “He told her he wanted her to be his girlfriend and that he missed her. Their relationship developed and he kissed her and abused her in his office and had sex with her in his car and at his home. His new wife found out about the affair and left him. He then ended the relationship and he has since got back together with his wife.”

The girl told a youth worker about the affair and she was urged to contact the police.

In a statement she said: “I was left with a great feeling of confusion. I felt very dirty and let down.

“I felt sick that he has taken advantage of me. He pretended to care for me and listen to my problems, when all he wanted was to have sex with me. I’m very angry with him.

The girl said she didn’t want the affair to affect her course work.

Defence barrister Tony Stevenson told the court Mr Bartle had a step-child and two children to provide for and was now working in recruitment, but confined to adults. He had pleaded guilty at the earliest possible stage, had no previous convictions and had not realised his behaviour was an offence. As a result of the case Mr Bartle was ordered to live apart from his children and faced financial problems.

Mr Stevenson said: “He was going through a crisis. He realised he had sunk to new depths. He accepts her feelings have been badly hurt by all this.

“The children want their father back and they all want to regain an even keel after this disastrous behaviour by Gary Bartle.”

Judge Tom Cracknell said the whole incident was aggravated as Mr Bartle was recently married. He told the court: “He was just married and had exchanged vows that he was going to be faithful for the rest of his life.

“Yet within a few weeks he was taking advantage of a young woman.”

Judge Cracknell ordered Mr Bartle to stand as he told him: “People like you are devious, manipulative and predatory, whether you think it is right or not you disfigure people’s lives. This was a pathetic relationship. This was a gross abuse of trust.”

He said: “You have now spent a night in custody. You know what awaits you if you get involved in relationships like this again.”

The Judge said he took in to account the full state of Britain’s prisons and decided not to jail Mr Bartle for longer than one night.

Mr Bartle was made the subject of a three-year community order and told to attend a sex-offenders’ treatment programme. He was also disqualified from working with children and was ordered to sign on to the National Sex Offenders’ Register.