July 2018

Pensioner and youth centre volunteer spared jail over child images crimes

A Woodford Green pensioner found in possession of child sexual abuse images – who volunteered at a Jewish youth community centre – has been spared jail.

Rafi Caplin, 72, of Northumberland House, Hamsptead Avenue, was sentenced to eight months in prison suspended for 18 months for possessing child pornography at Snaresbrook Crown Court today (Tuesday, July 24).

He pleaded guilty to possessing 16 of the most severe category A images; 65 category B images; and 13 category C images on or before June 18, 2016 at a hearing which took place on Wednesday, July 18 2018.

Prosecuting, Helen McCormack spoke of how Caplin’s phone, laptop and computer were seized for a separate matter on June 18 2016 and the images discovered by an expert during the course of an investigation.

Describing the most severe images, prosecutor Helen McCormack said: “They involve acts of penetrative sexual intercourse with children – who look like young teenagers, usually boys, there may be one of a girl.”

In relation to the category B images, she added: “The vast majority involve young teenagers who are underage who are involved in acts such as masturbation on their own or where there is a young boy also in the picture.”

The investigation also revealed “systematic” Google searches of terms including “young boy’s home video” and other more lurid terms from March 2014.

She added: “It seems he did work as a volunteer worker at a Jewish youth community centre.”

Defence solicitor Nichola Cafferkey requested that the judge issue Caplin a community order, highlighting his poor health, the number of images found and the ages of the subjects.

“Not to minimise the seriousness of the offence but the offending in this case involves a relatively low number of images.”

She added: “Normally the court deals with children that are of a much lower age.”

Judge Hammerton said: “I am clear that I am able to take that course of suspending it because, in my judgement, a suspended sentence will both rehabilitate you and punish you.”

Caplin has been placed on the sex offenders register for 10 years, faces a 9pm to 7am curfew and was ordered to pay £750 in court costs.