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Home Kent News Article
by Julia Roberts
A former parish councillor who had sexual intercourse with a teenage girl several times after grooming her has been jailed for 40 months.
A judge told Edward Bassett his "glib attitude" demonstrated "distorted thinking" which would need sustained and concerted work.
Bassett (pictured left) bought the victim pornography, a vibrator and underwear from Ann Summers sex shops and abused her when she turned 16.
The 53-year-old, of Bottom Pond Road, Wormshill, near Sittingbourne, admitted six offences of sexual activity with a child.
Bassett was arrested in Sutton Valence, Maidstone, less than a month after he was elected to the parish council. He resigned before the meeting on March 8.
Iestyn Morgan, prosecuting at Maidstone Crown Court, said Bassett's contact with the girl became inappropriate after he had a motorcycle accident in 2003.
He would send her sexual text messages "in the guise of another individual".
"When she was 16, he bought her underwear from Ann Summers and took photographs of her in it," said Mr Morgan.
He was caught performing a sex act on himself while looking at the photos.
Bassett accepted having intercourse with the girl on many occasions – "at least six separate occasions", said Mr Morgan. He also accepted performing another sex act on her.
The girl said in a victim statement that Bassett made her feel she had no self-worth and told of having ongoing nightmares.
Jailing Bassett, Judge Griffith-Jones said his behaviour was "clearly calculated" to distort his victim's thinking.
His name will appear on the sex offenders' register and he will be barred from working with children.
Bernard Eaton, defending, said Bassett's behaviour and temper changed following a motorcycle accident.
But he added his conduct fell "wide of predatory grooming".
"He says right at the outset: 'I know it is wrong. It didn't feel wrong at the time.'"
Mr Eaton described Bassett as "a man of with a keen sense of moral and social purpose, someone with a keen sense of knowing his place in the world and where the boundaries are of right and wrong".
But he added it was a fall from responsible moral and legal behaviour for a man who had made a contribution to the community over decades.
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