Scout leader jailed for child sex charges

First published in Local news

A "DEPRAVED" former cub scout leader has been jailed for five years for three historic charges of indecently assaulting a boy during the 1990s.

Peter Francis, 59, who was jailed for life in December 2002 for a series of sex attacks on boys, was a leader at a cub pack in Ilkley at the time of the attacks.

The charges, which he had initially denied, relate to the periods between January 1 and December 31, 1994, when the boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was aged ten, between January 1 and December 31, 1995, when the boy was 11, and January 1 to December 1, 1996, when the boy was 12.

Francis' victim, now in his 30s, did not report the assaults to police until August last year because he feared of being bullied at the time, Bradford Crown Court was told yesterday.

Francis eventually pleaded guilty to the charges at a plea and case management hearing at the court on June 11.

Prosecuting, David McGonigal told the court that Francis admitted he had "a sexual attraction to young boys from aged seven until the time of puberty".

The victim joined the cubs group where Francis was leader and he would often give him lifts home and even befriended his victim's parents.

The first charge involved Francis indecently assaulting his young victim at a sleepover held in a scout hut.

Another charge saw Francis kiss, hugged him from behind and said he "wanted a quick grope" the boy while giving him a lift in his car as they delivered Christmas cards.

The third charge occurred in a tent on a scout camp where Francis assaulted the boy but the boy refused to touch Francis. But the abuse came to an end shortly after this last occasion.

Mr McGonigal said: "It started with hugging during lifts home but the touching eventually became physical."

Francis, who wears glasses and has a bushy grey moustache, was convicted of his first sex attack on a boy in 1973 when he was 19 and was then given a nine-month detention.

Jailing Francis, Judge Jonathan Rose told him: "It is quite clear that for a long period of time you had a depraved, perverted and deviant sexual interest in children. You embarked on offending from 1974 to 1995.

"It seems to me there was grooming behaviour used on the victim.

"Your victim carried that secret for years and years and years.

"Between 1994 and 1996 you were in a position of trust. You were a leader of a cubs group, responsible for young children aged eight to 11.

"Being a cub leader draws from children admiration, respect and just a little bit of awe.

"It's a perfect situation for a paedophile like you and you took full advantage of it on numerous occasions over a period of two years. "You touched him without a second of thought of how you were degrading him psychologically for years to come."

After the case, Detective Inspector Mark Long, of Bradford District Safeguarding Unit, said: "Francis took advantage of his victim's young age and vulnerability to carry out these attacks.

"We would like to thank him for reporting these historic offences to the police, and we hope that the sentence passed down today will help to give him some closure."

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