January 2010

Bridgend man guilty of sexual activity with learning-disabled 14-year-old girl

A man accused of taking advantage of a 14-year-old girl with learning difficulties has been found guilty of sexual activity with a child.

William Absalom, 39, admitted being flattered by the attention of the girl but claimed he thought the girl was 17 and said there was nothing physical between them.

He denied charges of being involved in sexual activity with a child but was yesterday unanimously convicted of three offences and found guilty of a fourth by a majority of jurors at Cardiff Crown Court.

He was cleared of a further charge and the jury was discharged after failing to reach a verdict on a final allegation.

Judge Phillip Richards remanded him in custody until he is sentenced later this month.

The girl claimed Absalom had taken her to the bedroom he once shared with his wife before their separation, after paying for the taxi which took her to his home in Clos Mynydd, Bettws, Bridgend.

Two other children, one a friend who arrived with her in the cab, alleged they had heard or seen something sexual happening.

But Absalom, a father of four, said it was completely untrue.

Giving evidence during his trial, he said the girl, whom he knew of through friends, had obtained his telephone number and had bombarded him with calls and texts.

“I was rejecting the calls but then I must have had a few drinks one night and I started talking to her,” he said.

“It was flattering, I suppose, someone so young wanting to talk to you, to be honest.

“She told me her problems; we talked but here was no sexual contact between us.”

He said that in text messages the girl told him over and over again that she loved him but he just sent them back, thinking it was harmless fun.

The first time she came to his house was with her friend and he paid for their taxi because they had no money.

They came into his living room but not upstairs.

A week later she phoned late at night after he had been out drinking and said she was coming round again.

“I didn’t want her to but she was crying on the phone,” he said.

“We went upstairs to talk because I had other people there downstairs and I closed the bedroom door behind us just because she was upset.

“She was there about three-quarters of an hour before the taxi came and collected her. We had just talked.

“On each occasion she was fully dressed and so was I.”

The jury heard a statement from the head of the school attended by the girl, which put her level of educational ability at age six.

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