January 2019

Letchworth youth group leader jailed for sexual exploitation of teen

A Letchworth man who ran a youth group from a town community centre has been sentenced to three years in prison for making and possessing indecent photographs and moving images of children, and the sexual exploitation of a teenage girl.

Michael Elias, of Swanstand, was given the three-year jail sentence at St Albans Crown Court last Tuesday for two counts of intentionally causing or inciting the sexual exploitation of a child aged 16, and being in possession of indecent still and moving images of a child.

Elias was found guilty of intentionally exploiting a teenage girl between August and September 2016, by asking her to take a shower and video herself doing so.

Similarly, between June and September 2016, the court heard how the 45-year-old’s exploitation caused a girl, also aged 16, to send him indecent photographs of herself. For both of these counts he was sentenced to 2½ years, to run concurrently.

Elias ran a youth group at the Jackmans Community Centre, which performed at the annual fun day.

Other charges Elias was sentenced for include possession of indecent moving images of children in category A – images involving penetrative sexual activity – B and C in February 2017.

He was also guilty of making one category A and four category B images between July 2012 and February 2017.

For these, Judge Philip Grey handed Elias a six-month prison sentence to run consecutively, and a one-year sentence to run concurrently – making the total prison sentence three years.

He was also made subject to a sexual harm prevention order until further notice.