September 2017

Man who sexually abused children as a teenager could be stopped from returning to his wife in the USA

A man convicted of sexually abusing two boys more than 40 years ago may not be allowed back into the USA to rejoin his family.

The younger of Kevin Atkinson’s two victims faced him in court to reveal how it continued to affect him, while the other did not consider himself a victim and it “broke his heart” to appear as a witness.

Atkinson, 60, was convicted of two offences of indecency with a child against the younger victim, but was found not guilty of five other offences against him after a trial at Hull Crown Court.

He was convicted of four indecent assaults against the older victim. Both are now in their 50s.

Atkinson, who was a teenager at the time of the offending in East Yorkshire, but because of the passage of time, and conflicting evidence, it could not be known exactly how old any of them were when it happened, the court heard.

The older victim told the court he believed they were sexually experimenting at the time and did not see it as abuse.

The younger victim said in his police interview he believed he was younger than eight, but in evidence said he remembered hearing the song Some Girls, and Atkinson commenting on the lyrics “some girls will, some girls won’t”, which would have made him older.

Judge Mark Bury said because of the uncertainty he would have to give Atkinson the “benefit of the doubt”, and sentence him as if he had been at the younger age when committing the offences.

In one incident, Atkinson had told the younger boy they were playing a game of “find the mouse”.

Reading his victim impact statement in court, he said he had suffered from anxiety throughout his life as a result of the abuse. He had told his parents but was “disappointed” they did not do anything about it, and he then felt guilty about telling them.

The abuse left him feeling “dirty”, he said, and caused difficulties in his relationships.

He said: “I just want him in particular to know, and other people, how it’s affected me. What he did doesn’t just stop when you’re not there; it carries on. I think it was very callous and I just want him to know the implications of what he did.”

Judge Mark Bury told Atkinson of the other victim: “He does not regard himself as a victim. He regards what happened between you as sexual experimentation. He said to this jury that being here breaks his heart.”

The judge said if the allegations by the older boy had stood alone, “I doubt very much whether it would have been in the public interest to prosecute the defendant”.

Richard Thompson, who defended Atkinson, said his wife in the US, who is in ill health, knew about the case and was supportive of him, as were his employers.

Atkinson has a permanent resident’s card to live in the US and hoped to return there, but it was not clear whether authorities would let him in after his convictions and sentence.

Asking what his plans were if he were not in custody, the judge said: “Is it simply, buy and air ticket and hope for the best?”

“Yes, I think so,” Mr Thompson said.

Atkinson, formerly of Southside, Patrington, was sentenced to three months in jail, suspended for 12 months. He must register as a sex offender for seven years, which includes informing police if he leaves or enters the UK.

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