Sex offender hugged and read to children in Bishop Auckland

A SEX offender with a long history of disobeying court orders has been jailed for spending time with children who he hugged and read to

Christopher Paul Stephen Race, 23, was first cautioned at the age of 14 for rape of a boy under the age of 13.

He went on to be convicted in 2011 for engaging in sexual activity with a child under 13, in 2012 and 2015 for similar offences, one dating from 2010, and for breaching a sexual harm prevention order in 2015, four times in 2016 and again in 2017.

Yesterday Race appeared before Durham Crown Court via video link for three further breaches of the order.

Prosecutor Chris Baker said Race was living in supported accommodation in Chester-le-Street last month when he went to addresses in Crook, where six children live, and Bishop Auckland where two children live.

He was babysitting in Bishop Auckland with another man and at one point read to one. The court heard he visited three more times when children were present.

Race failed to inform the man, or the parents, that he was subject to a sexual harm prevention order and the man said he allowed one of the children in Bishop Auckland to “give him a cuddle”.

Race, registered as being of Winifred Terrace, Sunderland, indicated guilty pleas at Peterlee Magistrates’ Court on August 31.

The offences were that he breached notification requirements of his sexual harm prevention order, imposed in 2016, by staying at an address in Bishop Auckland and that he breached the order on August 19 and August 25 by having unsupervised contact with children in Crook and Bishop Auckland.

The offences put him in breach of a suspended sentence imposed in Newcastle in October, 2017, for battery.

James Adams, mitigating, said his client had a low IQ, was a “very very vulnerable young man” and needed rehabilitation.

He said: “The reality is there is no sexual offending here at all, nor was there any contemplated.”

Race was sentenced to six months in custody, half of which he will serve inside.

A five year sexual harm prevention order was imposed.

No action was taken on the suspended sentence breach.

Recorder Ian Atherton said: “You have enough intellectual capacity to choose between right and wrong and you knew you would breach your order.”