Scarborough man sentenced for online child abuse offences
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Specialist officers from the Online Abuse and Exploitation Team have brought a Scarborough man to justice for attempting to groom a child for sex.
John Gilbert, aged 53, was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment - suspended for two years - at York Magistrates’ Court today (Friday 15 October 2021) after pleading guilty on 17 September.
The three offences included being an adult attempting to meet a girl under 16 years of age following grooming; attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child; and attempting to cause a child aged 13 to 15 to watch/look at an image of sexual activity.
They were committed between 2 September and 14 September 2021 while Gilbert was engaged in online chats with a person who he believed to be a 13-year-old girl.
During these conversations, Gilbert sent sexual images, engaged in sexualised chat and made arrangements to meet the girl.
What Gilbert had not realised was that he was communicating with the police throughout this time.
An operation was carried out on 16 September to arrest him and a search warrant was executed at his home address.
Gilbert’s smart phone was examined by the Digital Forensic Unit. They were able to recover key evidence that proved he had been involved in the online child sexual abuse activity using a variety of dating and messaging applications.
Police Constable Francesca Diffey, of the Online Abuse and Exploitation Team based at Scarborough, led the investigation which secured the conviction.
“It is clear from the investigation that Gilbert has an active sexual interest in children and that he presents a very real danger to society,” said PC Diffey.
“Through the work of the police, we were able to intervene before he preyed on young victims.
“We have also ensured that Gilbert has been made subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and he is on the Sex Offenders’ Register.
“This means he will be closely managed by strict public protection measures.”
Reporting and seeking help about online sexual abuse
Please contact North Yorkshire Police on 101. If you are in immediate danger, always dial 999 for an emergency response
Marie Collins Foundation - mariecollinsfoundation.org.uk – support for children and young people who have been abused via the internet and mobile technologies
Stop it Now! – www.stopitnow.org.uk – Helpline 0808 1000 900 – confidential help and support for people who concerned about their or someone else’s thoughts and behaviour towards children
Victims who would prefer not to go direct to the police and are not in immediate danger, can contact Bridge House, North Yorkshire’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC), on 0330 223 0362, email [email protected] or go to www.bridgehousesarc.org/
NSPCC Helplines: Anyone concerned about a child can contact the NSPCC Helpline for advice on 0808 8005000; Adult victims of non-recent sexual abuse can also get in touch for support; Childline is available for young people on 0800 1111 or at www.childline.org.uk