Bristol school worker John Davies admits abusing 15-year-old
A RUGBY club chairman and school teaching assistant has been jailed for grooming and sexually abusing a 15-year-old girl.
John Davies was responsible for children's welfare in his role as chairman of the junior section of Avonmouth Old Boys RFC and his job at Henbury School.
But Bristol Crown Court heard that despite being all too aware, through his job, of the boundaries he should have kept between himself and children he chose to "groom and corrupt" the girl.
Married father-of-two Davies, of Cook Street, Avonmouth, was jailed for three years yesterday after pleading guilty to eight charges of having sexual activity with a child.
The 48-year-old denied witness intimidation, by sending the girl a letter, and his not guilty plea to that charge was accepted.
Davies, who sobbed and hung his head in the dock during the hearing, was told to register as a sex offender indefinitely and was banned from working with children again.
He was handed a ten-year Sexual Offences Prevention Order, banning him from unsupervised physical or internet contact with girls aged under 16.
Charles Thomas, prosecuting, said concerns were raised about Davies both by the school and the rugby club.
Mr Thomas said: "It was about the manner and nature of the defendant's contact and behaviour, with young girls aged 14 and 15, at the school and at the club."
The court heard the school issued Davies with a formal written warning regarding unauthorised contact with girl pupils via text messages and social network site Facebook.
Davies was also spoken to about his behaviour with girls at the rugby club, where he was coaching the under-15s girls' team.
Mr Thomas said that despite the warnings given to him Davies targeted a youngster, who was not a pupil at the school or a member of the club, and manipulated her into sexual activity.
He started by touching her leg and when she told him she had months to go before she turned 16, he told the child: "That's too long."
The court heard Davies would get the girl alone and touch her private parts.
Some 1,500 text messages were exchanged between the two, some of which were of a sexually explicit nature.
Abuse was finally halted when the girl told her mother what was happening and alerted police, the court heard.
Davies accepted sending the girl a large number of texts, and conceded it was inappropriate, but initially denied sexual activity.
Edward Burgess, defending, said: "He had a deluded and distorted view that, for whatever reason, at that stage in his life he thought it was appropriate to carry on in this way with a girl of this age.
"She was just under a year below the age of legal sexual consent."
Mr Burgess said his client had not threatened the girl and stressed there were occasions when she invited him to come and see her, without any move on his part to engineer a situation.
He told the court: "The shame on him, his wife and children is incalculable. How they will survive this is not for me to say, but it will not be easy at all."
Jailing Davies, Judge Martin Picton told him: "As a teaching assistant and lead contact for child protection issues, you knew the boundaries that should be expected between someone of your age and a young and impressionable girl.
"You chose deliberately to over-step those boundaries, which set you to groom and corrupt the victim in order to obtain sexual gratification."
Detective Constable Andy Fox, of Bristol-based sex crime unit Operation Bluestone, said: "The sentence handed to John Davies today highlights the serious nature of his crimes and the abuse of his position of trust.
"In the most calculating fashion John Davies made every opportunity to spend time alone with his victim to abuse her.
"The conviction has been achieved thanks to the tremendous courage of his victim.
"She came forward to tell us what had happened to her. This is never easy and her disclosure means others will not come to harm.
"I hope the sentence passed today sends a strong message to victims of sexual abuse – we will listen, fully investigate and provide you with the help and support needed."
Anyone who has been a victim, past or present, can call police on 999 or 101, or visit www.rapeaware.org.