July 2014

Youth worker jailed for sexual offences against children

A man, who formerly worked as a child youth worker employed by Pembrokeshire County Council, appeared before Swansea Crown Court this morning (July 1), and admitted 14 sexual offences against children.

The offences include sexual touching, taking indecent photographs, and the possession of 1,129 indecent photographs of minors.

Michael John Smith, known as ‘Mik’, aged 49, of Prendergast, Haverfordwest, has been jailed for six years for offences which include touching the genitals and bottom of an eight-year-old boy, and encouraging a boy of eight to engage in sexual activity of a non-penetrative nature, including masturbation.

Michael John Smith, was a line manager with Pembrokeshire Youth Service who was sacked after “several warnings” about inappropriate behaviour towards young people.

He went on to abuse the young son of a couple who supported him following his dismissal, a judge at Swansea crown court heard today.

Smith admitted three offences of sexually assaulting a child under the age of 13, four of causing or inciting the child to engage in sexual activity, two of taking indecent photographs of the child, four of making indecent images and one of possessing 1,136 indecent images of children.

Brian Simpson, prosecuting, said all the offences, apart from the last, related to the same boy.

He said Smith had worked for Pembrokeshire Youth Service and later Pembrokeshire Youth Action Service until he was dismissed in 2012 after children complained about the ways he touched them.

But before he was sacked, said Judge Paul Thomas, he had been given “several warnings.”

Mr Simpson said some people continued to support Smith but his response was to “groom” the son of one of the couples for his own sexual gratification, sometimes videoing himself as he abused the naked boy.

The alarm was raised when the boy’s parents noticed that he was becoming more sexualised, sometimes touching his mother’s bottom and talking about “humpy.”

He also developed sleeping difficulties and one night his father went into his bedroom and asked him if there was anything wrong. The boy told him Smith had shown “new ways of humpy.”

Mr Simpson said his father felt physically sick and called in the police.

Smith was arrested but denied ever touching the boy indecently. But officers took away computers and cameras, and found the two videos and the indecent images, 19 of which were in the most serious category.

Smith was arrested a second time and on being told about the evidence that had been discovered chose not say anything in reply to questions.

Mr Simpson said the boy now had bad dreams, felt sad and cried a lot. He did not play with friends in case he said something about what had happened and worried that Smith would hurt him because he had told the police about the abuse.

His father, said Mr Simpson, had felt suicidal. Both he and his wife had undergone counselling.

Jim Davis, the barrister representing Smith, said there was no doubt his sexual orientation was towards young boys and he might benefit from psychiatric treatment, although that would not be available in jail.

“The word betrayal is quite appropriate. He tells me he knows that an apology is not enough. He cannot find the words to express how sorry he is and how ashamed he is,” he said.

Mr Davis said Smith would be positively “extremely glad” if the judge made an order that would keep him away from children.

Judge Thomas said Smith had applied for jobs and positions as a senior youth worker and with the cubs, scouts and children’s homes so that he could have contact with young children.

He had used the boy, he added, as his own “sexual play thing without any regard to the consequences to a boy of that age.”

And he had even videoed the abuse.

Judge Thomas said he could pass consecutive sentences, but he had to have regard to the totality.

Smith was jailed for six years for causing the child to engage in sexual activity, four for sexual assault, two for videoing the abuse and 12 months for possessing indecent photographs, all to run concurrently.

Smith was also banned from working with children for life and ordered to register with the police as a sex offender, again for life.

Smith, who had arrived at court with a rucksack expecting a jail sentence, did not react as he was sent down

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