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Record numbers of women are being convicted of sexual abuse crimes, according to new figures. In just two years the number of females brought before the courts and found guilty has almost doubled, from 74 in 2014 to 142 in 2016.
The number of women convicted of sex crimes has tripled since the beginning of the decade. And the charge of sex with a minor, brought against women over the age of consent, has rocketed, the most recent figures from the Ministry of Justice show.
Experts said the film industry has documented sexual affairs between women and students as something other than grooming and criminal. Steve Lowe, director of Phoenix Forensic Consultants, which treats and assesses child sex abusers, said: “The rise has occurred because we are more prepared as a society to accept that women can be sexual predators and we are beginning to change our perception of the idea that a young male having sex with an adult woman is a rite of passage."
“Now we would question a 13-year-old boy having sex with a 28-year-old woman. In the past that was more likely to have been accepted. But if you reverse that, it is obvious that a 28-year-old man having sex with a 13-year-old girl is abusive. Historically, sex with an older woman was routinely seen as a positive thing for young males. It’s possible that films such as The Graduate reinforce this view. But I would never accept that. These are distorted relationships and connections.”
Of the 142 female sex offenders, 16 women were convicted of sexually assaulting males and 21 guilty of the same offence against women and girls. Six were convicted of rape, 37 of sexual activity with or involving a child, one of sexual grooming, 35 for internet child pornography offences and four for exposure and voyeurism.
In the same year, 10,911 sex offences involving children were perpetrated by men. “It is also likely that greater education of young males allows them to talk about having been sexually abused,” Dr Kieran McCartan, associate professor of criminology at the University of the West of England in Bristol, said.
“We are seeing an increase in the reporting, recording and sentencing of female perpetrators of sexual harm, nationally and internationally. This is down to a number of factors, including increased numbers of victims coming forward, more attuned police investigations, more cases being referred to the courts and more cases being successful.”
A police officer has been found guilty of gross misconduct after attempting to meet what he thought was a teenage boy. Jonathan Davies-Brewin, 50, was unaware that he was actually speaking to a pedophile vigilante on a dating app.
Davies-Brewin was arrested in Braintree, where he had arranged to meet an individual who he believed to be a 15-year-old boy, after talking to him on the dating app Grindr. He was handed a nine-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, on January 31.
On December 12, 2017, Davies-Brewin admitted a charge of attempting to meet a child under the age of 16 for the purpose of sexual grooming. Davies-Brewin was also given a Sexual Prevention Order for 10 years, and was put on the Sex Offenders Register for 10 years.
A special misconduct hearing found the officer would have been sacked had he not resigned beforehand. “I demand the highest level of conduct from my officers and Jonathan Davies-Brewin’s actions have fallen well below what I expect," Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh said, the East Anglian Daily Times reports.
“I have no doubt in my mind he went to Braintree with the premeditated intention to abuse a young person. The role police officers play in society to protect the most vulnerable is a responsibility which must be taken with the utmost seriousness and is a fundamental pillar in public confidence in policing.” The Chief Constable added that the officer’s conduct risked “undermining the faith” of youth in the police, saying that he therefore had “no hesitation in handing down this sanction.”
“I believe I have some of the best officers in the country here in Essex, and Davies-Brewin’s behavior is not, and should not be, a reflection on them. He may have already resigned but it was important this misconduct process took place.
“The outcome and sanction we have agreed on means he will be placed on the barred list and won’t be able to work for another force anywhere in the country.” Davies-Brewin was also ordered to pay £1,200 ($1,660) in costs and to do 200 hours of unpaid community work, as well as 25 rehabilitation days.
"There is sort of a higher number than we would have maybe thought of males portrayed on the images," ECPAT's Marie-Laure Lemineur told a press conference in Brussels.
The report said 64.8 percent of the unidentified victims were girls and 31.1 percent were boys while both sexes were depicted together in 4.1 percent of images and videos.
"When boys were depicted in the abuse, it was more likely to be severe," the report said.
The report added that the younger the child, whether a boy or a girl, the "abuse was more likely to be severe."
Sin is progressive!
The findings are important and require further study because it is often assumed that girls and older children are far more likely to be abused than boys and young children, ECPAT and Europol officials said.
Some of the victims were infants and toddlers.
The study rated levels of victimization from cases of nudity, erotic posing, explicit sexual activity, assault, gross assault as well as sadism and bestiality.
Bjorn Sellstrom, Europol's coordinator for crimes against children, urged the public to be careful about the terms used to describe the abuses.
"This is not child pornography. This is evidence of crimes," the Swedish police officer told the press conference.
The images were contained in the International Child Sexual Exploitation database that Interpol set up nearly a decade ago, leading to the identification of 12,000 victims.
But Sellstrom said many more could be identified as less than half of the world's countries are connected to the data base, with none in Africa and only a few in Asia.
The system's sophisticated software compares photos and videos, allowing investigators to also identify abusers and locations across the participating member states. Nearly 47 percent of the files in the database portray child victims that have been identified by the authorities while the remainder depict unidentified children.
Europol and Ecpat called for a coordinated global response involving civil society, media, academia and various layers of government.
"This is not a law enforcement problem. This is a societal problem," Sellstrom said.
— Agence France-Presse
The trial of a 75-year-old from Burnham-on-Sea accused of six counts of historic sex abuse got under way at Taunton Crown Court today.
Peter Sheppard, of Love Lane, denies four charges of indecent assault on a young girl, said to have taken place between 13 September 1992 and 19 September 1994.
He also denies a charge of indecency with a child, aged between the ages of seven and eight, said to have taken place during the same dates.
He also denied a charge of indecently assaulting a different girl aged between 12 and 16 years of age, between March 31, 1991, and March 31, 1996.
Prosecuting, Christopher Smyth told the jury of six women and six men that Sheppard had abused and groped his first victim when she was aged around seven or eight years old.
"She tried to pull away, but he was quite forceful," he said. "He pulled her back. She was only a very young girl - she didn't understand what was going on, but she knew on some level that it was wrong."
He said the abuse had carried on for a number of years and over a number of occasions he had tried to force her to touch him and tried to kiss her.
Mr Symth said she had come forward in 2014 after seeing him again years later. "He was behind a gate at a house, looking out without a care in the world," he said. "And that's when she knew she had to say something."
Sheppard also denied having abused a second victim, where he is said to have grabbed her hand and forced him to touch her. "She pulled her hand away and told him to get out," he said. "But when the police spoke to him about this, he claimed he had no recollection of ever going to her home."
Mr Smyth told the jury that when arrested by police, Sheppard - who suffers from extreme hearing difficulties - denied the allegations against him, saying he was 'flabbergasted' by them and had no idea where they had come from.
The trial continues.
The French government on Tuesday announced plans for a new law that would prevent someone under the age of 15 consenting to sex.
It would be the first law of its kind in France, where there is currently no law that states a child below a certain age is considered incapable of consenting to sex.
The measure is part of a proposed bill against sexual and gender-based violence, which will be presented to parliament on March 21. The current age of consent in France is 15.
Sexual acts with a child under the age of 15 are illegal under French law but to charge an offender with rape it must be proved that sex was forced.
Officials had previously mulled setting the age at 13, but some, including President Emmanuel Macron, had argued for it to be older.
Two landmark cases
The proposed law has been suggested following two cases involving adult men who are accused of having sex with 11-year-old girls.
In one case a man was charged with sexual assault and not rape because the victim was considered to have consented and in another case a man accused of raping an 11-year-old was acquitted.
France's Minister for Gender Equality Marlene Schiappa said the government had decided to keep the age of consent at 15 following a citizens' consultation and the findings of an expert report.
Change to rape and sexual offense laws
Seven experts assigned by the government in February recommended the threshold and advocated for two new rape and sexual consent offenses whereby cases involving sexual relations with a person below 15 years of age would be considered an offense.
In a report delivered to Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, the group of lawyers, legal practitioners, doctors and childcare professionals stated this age "does not seem excessive in view of the double imperative to strengthen the protection of minors from sexual offenses and to clearly prohibit sexual abuse."
The experts said that based on neuroscientific research: "the teenager deserves, until the age of 15, 16, enhanced protection because of the deep traces caused by sexual trauma on the structure and functioning of the brain."
That's an argument I have never heard before. Brings another level of horror into the mix.
A man found guilty of raping a young girl and assaulting another more than 30 years ago has been jailed.
He was found guilty of one rape and two offences of indecency.
Father-of-four Barbour began abusing his first victim as a schoolboy. He was jailed for four years.
The first victim told the court that she was targeted when she ran errands as a little girl.
Judge Lord Ericht told Barbour at the High Court in Edinburgh that it was clear from victim impact statements that his behaviour had "a severe and detrimental effect" on their lives.
The judge said he had been convicted of a number of serious offences but he took into account that the first occurred when he was a child aged 13 to 14.
Defence counsel Mark Stewart QC said Barbour, from Bridge of Don, continued to maintain that he was innocent of any wrongdoing.
Barbour was also placed on the sex offenders register.
Kenny Donnelly, procurator fiscal for sexual offences, said: "He may well have thought that he had escaped justice but he was wrong, and thanks to the courage of his victims in coming forward to report what happened to them he is now paying the consequences for his actions."
"Whilst we recognise that reporting cases of sexual abuse can be an extremely daunting prospect, we would encourage all victims of such crimes, wherever and whenever they were committed, to come forward and report them."
A spokesman for NSPCC Scotland said: "This case clearly shows the devastating impact child abuse has on its victims which can last throughout their lives. It also shows, once again, that it's never too late for survivors of past abuse to come forward to seek justice and access support."
Leslie Bryan, of Burton Close, Dawley, denies 14 charges of historic sexual abuse in Essex involving the three boys who were then aged between nine and 16.
Prosecutor David Wilson claimed at Chelmsford Crown Court: “They were vulnerable boys in no position to object to the behaviour and the defendant knew and preyed upon them. We say the abuse was systematic and persistent.”
The jury of eight women and four men heard that Bryan, who was 21 at the time, abused the boys over a number of years.
The prosecutor said that one alleged victim ‘plucked up the courage’ to speak to someone at the time. But he continued: “He was not believed when he spoke to social workers and the police and in fact was given quite a hard time by police about it and told it was not something which would be taken forward.”
Bryan was arrested and interviewed but no further action was taken at that stage, he added. However allegations were reported to Essex Police again in November 2016.
“Our case is that the defendant took advantage of vulnerable boys, to sexually abuse them,” Mr Wilson told the jurors.
Bryan denies offences relating to each of the three alleged victims. He is charged with four offences of indecent assault and two of indecency with a child concerning the youngest complainant between 1976 and 1982; and five of indecent assault and one of indecency with a child concerning the oldest, between 1975 and 1980.
He also denies two offences of indecently assaulting the third boy over a four-month period in 1981. He claims in his defence the abuse allegations are fabricated and that there might be collusion between the complainants.
Bryan also claims he was physically incapable of some of the acts described.
When interviewed by police in December 2016, Bryan denied all the allegations and said he could not understand why they had been made. He told officers that at the time of the allegations he was on anti-depressive medication which affected his libido.
The trial continues.