September 2017

Ex-Salvation Army member from Peterlee facing jail after admitting indecently assaulting underage girl

A FORMER member of the Salvation Army who admitted sexually assaulting a young teenage girl 20 years ago has been told to expect a prison sentence when he returns to court next month to learn his fate.

The warning was given to Anthony Huntington after he pleaded guilty at Durham Crown Court to three counts of indecent assault on the girl, over a 12-month period.

Fifty-four-year-old Huntington, who at the time of the offences was a Salvation Army corps member, was described as of otherwise previous good character.

He appeared for a plea and trial preparation hearing, relating to a six count indictment, all alleging he indecently assaulted the girl.

Rod Hunt, for Huntington, asked for just three of the charges to be put.

All three state the girl in question was a young teenager at the time of the offences.

He said Huntington’s pleas were on the basis that he accepts a sexual relationship took place, but when the girl was slightly older.

Shaun Dodds, prosecuting, said he would go back to check with the Crown Prosecution Service, who would speak to the complainant, but either way the defendant was “clearly accepting” such activity took place when the girl was underage.

He asked for proceedings to be delayed until next month to enable him to speak to the reviewing lawyer, and to allow the complainant to be both informed of the situation and to give her a chance of updating her victim personal statement, which will be read to the court at the sentencing hearing.

Judge Christopher Prince asked for a pre-sentence background report on Huntington to be prepared by the Probation Service.

He told Huntington: “When you come back to this court the judge will sentence you to a custodial sentence, I have little doubt about that.”

Mr Hunt asked if the defendant could retain his liberty prior to the sentencing hearing, adding: “After all, he’s done the decent thing,” relating to his admissions, sparing the complainant from having to give evidence.

Judge Prince told Huntington: “Put your affairs in order, but you must prepare yourself to receive a custodial sentence.”

Huntington, of Northumberland Place, Peterlee, was bailed until October 13. He must sign the Sex Offenders’ Register on an interim basis, in the meantime.