September 2017

Sex offender’s troubled childhood made turn to crime ‘almost inevitable’, says judge

A judge said it was “almost inevitable” that a convicted sex offender turned to crime after a troubled childhood.

Lee Rogers ended up in the dock again after he hid and dismantled a phone which he had used to view perverted “stories” on the internet.

Judge Neil Davey QC said: “It is plain that Mr Rogers had an appalling childhood through no fault of his own which was inevitably going to leave him damaged.”

He told the defendant: “Anybody who suffered as you did as a child was almost inevitably, as years go by, going to commit criminal offences.”

Teesside Crown Court heard how Rogers, 21, built up a criminal record including sexual assault in 2007 and since making indecent photographs of children, possessing prohibited images of children and possessing extreme pornography.

His latest crimes were breaches of a sexual offences prevention order (SOPO) designed to protect the public.

The five-year court order meant he had to make internet-capable devices like smartphones available for inspection and he was banned from deleting his internet history.

The judge said he tried to hoodwink a detective visiting his home by handing over a “dummy phone” without internet access on February 28.

He denied he had any other devices but staff at his hostel on Middlesbrough Road, South Bank, had concerns and the police made a fruitless search of rooms.

Prosecutor Harry Hadfield said Rogers then confessed he had another phone which he had used to access “incest and bestiality stories”.

He did not want police to check it so he dismantled it and hid the components in a bathroom.

A plumber had to be called to help retrieve the phone parts, and the SIM card was never found.

Rogers told officers he bought the phone days earlier and downloaded pornography before he “began to look at things he knew he shouldn’t look at”.

He looked at the extreme material for as long as seven hours at a time and found it arousing, the court was told today.

Realising the police would check, he panicked, deleted the internet history and destroyed the phone. He denied downloading any indecent images of children.

Rogers, now of Hartington Road, central Stockton, admitted breaching the SOPO.

He had breached the order repeatedly before and was once sent to a young offenders’ institution for doing so by downloading images of children.

Julian Gaskin, defending, said Rogers was an immature young man who had been in the criminal justice system since he was 13.

He said Rogers was now starting to understand the wider world and knew he needed help.

“He tells me repeatedly he doesn’t want to be like this. He is prepared to engage and speak to people,” added Mr Gaskin.

“He admitted this interview, explained everything, pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.”

Judge Davey said Rogers’ latest offending was not directed towards children, he volunteered the phone to police and there was hope for his future.

Rogers had been remanded in custody since his arrest, which the judge said was “appropriate punishment”.

Reports showed he had improved, showed more maturity and insight and would benefit from the skilled help of the Probation Service, added the judge.

He said a sentence designed to help Rogers was more likely to reduce the risk of re-offending.

He said of prison: “It would simply be to kick the can of the problem down the road.

“Not simply for mercy but for justice as well, I can take a more constructive course than that.”

He passed a one-year prison sentence suspended for two years with rehabilitation activity and a sex offenders’ treatment programme.

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