Scout leader who preyed on young boys for four years jailed for child sex offences
A scout leader who preyed on young boys at various camps has been jailed for 11 years.
The sex offender abused the victims, as young as eight, at their homes and scout clubs across Essex.
Anthony Allen, 27, of Plaistow, Newham, was sentenced for six offences of sexual assault of a child under the age of 13, and six offences of sexual activity with a child under 15.
The charges relate to eight children from the 25th Newham East Scout Group, that Allen had volunteered at for ten years, until he was suspended last year pending the investigation.
The offences took place against victims, all boys aged between eight and 16, who were abused at varying times over a four-year period between January 2013 and September 2017. They occurred at different locations, including home addresses and scout camps in Essex, Kent and Wales.
During the period of abuse, Allen worked as a teaching assistant for a year and then a learning mentor at a primary school.
The investigation was first triggered when one of his victims, realising that his younger brother was due to move up from cubs to Allen’s scout group and would also be at risk, told his mother he had to get him out of scouts in a bid to protect him.
His mother initially viewed this comment as a joke, but after her elder son repeated allegations to other relatives she got the police involved.
The first formal complaint led to other victims coming forward and contacting police.
Allen also enlisted as a volunteer in the Army Reserves and was deployed in Estonia for training with his unit, 7 Rifles G Company, who are based in West Ham, when the allegations first surfaced.
When police identified Allen he was abroad with his army unit and he was flown back to England for questioning.
He was arrested at Heathrow Airport in mid-September 2017, interviewed and then released on bail.
He then temporarily disappeared after leaving ‘suicide notes’ at several of his victims’ houses.
Allen’s computer was seized from his home address and he was arrested over offences relating to making and possessing images and videos.
During the trial the prosecution outlined examples of Allen grooming different boys, firstly by initiating text message conversations which would begin as banter, which would then progress to inappropriate chat focusing on male physique, and progress again to explicitly sexual language.
One tactic the predator used was to ask victims to send him photos of them exercising their bodies as evidence for their progress towards a so-called ‘fitness’ badge.
He took advantage of the close physical proximity fostered by seasonal scout camping trips. He would surprise victims in the toilets or persuade them into his tent under the false shield of seeking support while the young boys were away from home, but they were then trapped by Allen into unwanted physical intimacy.
One boy, who was first assaulted by Allen at the age of 10, estimated sexual touching had occurred on 60 to 100 occasions.
Allen also used the technique where he would insinuate himself into the wider family by befriending parents and children to win their trust. Parents consistently told police how helpful and supportive he was, assisting with errands and taking the children out for day trips, leading officers to note they had been equally groomed.
One one occasion Allen assaulted a 13-year-old victim in his own bedroom while the boy’s mother and younger sibling were downstairs in the garden.
Another victim came forward to police and said Allen was looked up to as a role model by members of the group and several, including himself, viewed him as a second father.
One victim called him ‘dad’ as he was taken out ad about by Allen just as a parent would.
Another boy was so embarrassed at the memory of the explicitly sexual suggestions that Allen had made to him that he was unable to say them out loud and had to write them on a note he handed to officers.
Allen first appeared at Thames Magistrates’ Court on October 4, 2017, where he was remanded to attended the Old Baily on November 1, 2017.
He appeared at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Friday, April 13 and sentenced for a total of 11 years for 12 sexual offences involving minors, as well as, making 30 Category C images of children he know, possession of three category A images, 28 Category B images and 611 Categeory C images. These also included one Category A video, and ten Category B videos.
Anthony Allen charges:
The charges in full in which Anthony Allen, 27, of Plaistow in Newham was sentenced:
six offences of sexual assault of a child under 13
six offences of sexual activity with a child under 15
making 20 Category C images of children he knew
possession of three Category A images
possession of 28 Category B images
possession of 611 Category C images
possession of one Category A video
possession of ten Category B videos