September 2016

Shamed Scout leader gets further two years for abusing another child


A former Scout leader, who was jailed for three years last year for sexual abuse of a schoolgirl, has been sentenced to a further two years after another victim came forward.

Leeds Crown Court heard the additional offences involving her had pre-dated those for which Simon Karl Townsend was sentenced last July but only come to light earlier this year when the girl told her boyfriend what had happened years ago.

David Hall, prosecuting, said the girl was a scout and like his other victim, his grooming of her began with Townsend having a number of sexual conversations with her.

She was 14 on a scout activity when she became separated from others in her troop and Townsend then took the opportunity to kiss her on her lips “like a boyfriend.”

He subsequently undid the zip on her caving suit and put his hand down her top and felt her breast.

She described him trying to get her alone on other occasions when he would try to move her hand towards his groin but she would pull away from him.

He also asked her to send him naked photographs of her and she had sent some when she “was in a state of undress.” Some he had deleted but four were found on his phone which were Category C, the lowest level of indecent images.

It was also then discovered there had been 25,000 messages between them on WhatsApp “initiated by him and the vast majority of a sexual nature, conversations of the most intimate and sexual kind,” said Mr Hall.

His conduct towards that girl was interrupted by his arrest for offences against the other victim for which he was jailed last July.

After finally speaking up this year about his behaviour the victim said Townsend’s actions had made her feel insecure and had caused her sleepless nights.

Marianne Alton, representing Townsend, said he was ashamed and disgusted “at the person he was two years ago.”

He accepted that his attitude towards her was entirely wrong and unacceptable at a time when he going through a troubled personal life.

He was genuinely remorseful and had admitted the offences at the earliest opportunity. Since being sentenced last year he had taken part in the sex offender treatment programme and appreciated the impact of his behaviour.

Townsend, 33, then of Highfield Avenue, Meltham, admitted two charges of sexual activity with a child, arranging the commission of a child sexual offence, and possessing four indecent images.

Jailing him for two years to run consecutive to his current three year sentence, the Recorder of Leeds, Judge Peter Collier QC said his behaviour towards that girl when he was a scout leader was a significant breach of trust.

“She is still suffering from what happened as a result of your criminal offending,” he said

July 2015

Former Scoutmaster jailed for sexual abuse of schoolgirl

A man has been jailed for three years for sexual abuse of a schoolgirl.

Leeds Crown Court heard the girl had known Simon Karl Townsend for some time but when she was 13 he began talking to her about his own sex life with his partner and what they did together.

Andrew Semple prosecuting said on subsequent occasions when they happened to be at the same premises he progressed to putting his arms around her, kissing her and telling her she was beautiful.

The complainant told police later that then turned to Townsend, 32, touching her breasts and telling her she had “nice boobs.”

Mr Semple told the court the girl said she felt uncomfortable but did not know what to dosince he was an adult. He then made her perform a sex act.

As the weeks passed he progressed to asking her to carry out other sex acts which she did on two occasions.

In May this year Townsend, who was a Scout leader in the 10th Holme Valley (New Mill) Scout Group, had returned from a camp in Harrogate and he committed a further sex act.

None of the offences has any connection to his work with the Scouts.

Mr Semple said Townsend also asked the girl to send him naked pictures of herself on her phone, she did not do so but sent him some of her in her underwear and there was an exchange of sexualised texts between them.

It was those texts which led to the prosecution. On May 5 a friend of the girl’s saw some of the messages on her phone and as a result another person told a teacher and the offences came to light.

Townsend told police he had fantasised about the girl but denied sexual activity but his DNA was found on an item of her clothing.

Andrew Dallas representing Townsend said he was highly remorseful and realised the damage he had done to his young victim and that he had to be punished.

He had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity and accepted he had formed “an inappropriate emotional attachment” to her.

“This was just the defendant carried away imagining himself in some of kind of relationship and now fully understands what he did was terrible and wrong.”

His work with the scout movement and other charities portrayed him in a more positive light than the offences.

Townsend, of Highfield Avenue, Meltham, admitted two charges of sexual activity with a child, three of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and one of engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child.

In addition to the jail term he was ordered to register indefinitely as a sex offender and to pay a £900 criminal charge.