August 2018

Buckfastleigh man who filmed himself abusing child jailed for 11 years

A depraved teacher has been jailed for 11 years after filming himself raping a blindfolded young girl.

Chemistry teacher Jonathan Rowe, an assistant principal at Eggbuckland Community College, abused the girl during visits to his home and on Dartmoor camping trips when she was aged between eight and ten.

The child did not realise what he was doing because he raped her orally as she slept and blindfolded her while asking her to pose for pictures.

He was caught after she saw ’something fleshy’ through the blindfold and told her mother about his sinister activity.

Rowe, 49, of Higher Dean, had taken images on his Nikon camera and his Motorola phone and transferred them onto his school laptop, which police seized from his office at Eggbuckland.

The mother of a six-year-old girl had previously warned Rowe about his behaviour after finding him playing with her half-naked daughter in a rock pool while visiting a beach.

The offender had developed an interest in young girls in the three years before his arrest and had started downloading abuse images on the internet before executing his fantasies into action.

Investigating officers also found a video of a 13-year-old girl on a trampoline in which he had focused on her breasts. They found a pair of the her pyjama bottoms in his bedroom.

Both girls were not pupils at the school or members of his family.

Rowe admitted three rapes, two of sexual activity with a child, five of taking indecent images of the victims, and three of making images by downloading them from the internet.

He was jailed for 11 years with a one year extended licence by Judge David Evans at Exeter Crown Court.

The defendant was put on the sex offenders’ register for life and banned from going within 50 metres of any school or taking any photographs or videos of children.

The judge told him: ‘You were for many years a well respected teacher and member of your local community, married with a son and a daughter.

‘You knew more than most about safeguarding and the effect that child abuse can have on victims and their families.’

He added: ‘It seems for some years you have lived a double life. By your own admissions, in recent years you have been downloading images of pre-pubescent children and you clearly have a sexual interest in children.

‘Sadly, you translated that sexual interest into the actual abuse of this girl. The purpose behind your depraved actions seems to have been to put yourself into sexual poses with the girl when her awareness of what you were doing was reduced very significantly.

‘That was because you blindfolded her in what you pretended was some sort of secret activity which she was not to divulge to others. On other occasions you took advantage of her when she was asleep.

‘These were and still are powerful urges. I have read the personal statement of the victim’s mother. It is clear the harm has rippled out. As the girl who you treated in such a perverted fashion, there may be more psychological harm that will come out.

‘I have read your eloquent letter in which you say this was something you neither chose or wanted. I don’t know to what extent these urges were bidden or unbidden but what you did was to gratify your urges.

‘That was utterly down to you and not down to some monstrous impersonal force. You bear full responsibility.’

Mr Piers Norsworthy, prosecuting, said Rowe was arrested in April after a ten-year-old girl, who visited his home, told her mother of two incidents in which he had blindfolded her, told her to pose with her mouth open and photographed her.

She did not know what was going on but saw something fleshy through the blindfold and felt something touch her lips.

Police seized Rowe’s school-issue lap top and found photos in which he put his member in her mouth. There were other pictures which had been taken on camping trips on Dartmoor when the girl was asleep.

There were also 327 images of young girls, including 12 showing serious abuse. Rowe told them he hoped he would die before the truth came out.

After his arrest, police learned of an earlier incident from 2013 in which the mother of a six-year-old girl found him playing with her daughter in a rock pool on a beach.

She and her husband later went to Rowe’s home after becoming concerned about him taking photographs of the girl at a gymnastics display.