Published: 13:15, 14 July 2017
A pervert who sexually abused a very young child has been jailed for five years after a judge found he presented a danger of further offending.
Stephen Betts, of Maida Road, Chatham, denied sexual assault of a child under 13 and causing a child to engage in sexual activity.
But a judge said he was convicted in May on “clear and compelling evidence” and remained in denial.
The 29-year-old was arrested after the girl told her mother he had touched her inappropriately - describing it as “cuddling” - and demonstrated him performing a sex act.
He also got the child to touch him indecently. When confronted about it, he insisted: “I wouldn’t do that.”
A recorded interview with the child, in which she was seen drawing pictures, was shown to the jury.
Betts denied any indecency with the child happened and claimed he had only touched her in a non-sexual way.
Danny Moore, defending, told Maidstone Crown Court there was little he could say about the offence in view of what Betts told a probation officer who prepared a report on him.
“He continues to deny the offence,” he added. “This will be his first sentence of imprisonment. The conviction will have a long lasting and devastating effect on his family.”
Under an extended sentence for public protection, Betts will have to serve two thirds of the term before being considered for parole and he will be on licence for a further two years.
Judge Adele Williams said of the victim: “You used her to meet your sexual needs. Her evidence was compelling. She was particularly vulnerable due to her extreme youth.”
The judge added: “It is quite clear you are in denial. You lack any insight into your offending and I consider you pose a significant risk of serious harm to children by the commission of further offences.”
An NSPCC spokesperson said: “Betts’ young victim has shown tremendous courage in speaking out about her ordeal.
“Sexual abuse ruins childhoods but with the right support victims can overcome what has happened to them. Hopefully Betts’ victim is receiving help to come to terms with her experiences.
“Letting the Future In is an NSPCC service dedicated to helping children who have been sexually abused. Since 2011, the service has helped 193 children in the Gillingham service centre."
A sexual harm prevention order was imposed and Betts’ name will be on the sex offenders’ register indefinitely. He will be barred from working with children and vulnerable adults on his release.
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