A FORMER council safeguarding administrator who was this week jailed for offences including grooming young boys, was also a trustee of a long-standing sexual health charity.

Heathcliffe Bowen, 50, was found guilty on Monday of a series of offences between 2013 and 2015 including grooming young boys on the internet with a view to meeting them for sex.

One of the people Bowen had communicated with was a 15-year-old boy.

The Recorder of Bradford, Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC, said Bowen, of Woodlands Rise, Ilkley, had a “deep and entrenched interest in underage children” and jailed him for five years.

During the trial it emerged that Bowen, a former Conservative Ilkley parish councillor and three-time chairman of the parish council, had worked as an administrator for Bradford Council in social services and safeguarding from 1995 to 2014.

The council yesterday said it would look at the procedures that led to Bowen’s hiring and see if any lessons needed to be learned.

Bowen was also a trustee of Yorkshire MESMAC, a long-standing sexual health organisation. It is the umbrella charity that includes the BLAST project that works with young men and boys at risk of sexual exploitation and organises the annual Yorkshire CSE conference in Bradford, aimed at tackling child sexual exploitation.

Both the council and MESMAC said Bowen’s roles did not put him into direct contact with vulnerable young people.

A spokesman for MESMAC said: “Our thoughts are with the young people who Bowen committed these heinous crimes against.

“Mr Bowen was a trustee of Yorkshire MESMAC and latterly a director of Yorkshire MESMAC Trading Ltd.

“All Yorkshire MESMAC Trustees are required to undertake a satisfactory DBS check before joining the Board. DBS checks are renewed every three years.

“Heathcliffe Bowen last attended a Board of Trustees meeting in 2013. He formally resigned from the Board in February 2014 before any allegations came to light. He was required to resign as a director of our trading arm when we were made aware that he was under investigation.

“Mr Bowen’s former roles with Yorkshire MESMAC were not ones involving direct work with young people.

“We would like to thank the police and others who secured this conviction.”

Last year MESMAC had to rewrite its employee code of conduct after criticism that it seemed to say staff could sleep with “service users” they met at work. Leeds City Council’s public health department, responsible for commissioning Yorkshire MESMAC’s services, investigated the complaints and Yorkshire MESMAC produced a revised version of their policy, which was reviewed by safeguarding officers from the council.

All groups were satisfied that the new policy was clear, reinforced professional boundaries and was unambiguous in making it explicit that non-professional relationships with service users who had entered into a 1-2-1 or ongoing support relationship with the worker were forbidden.

Bradford Council told the Telegraph & Argus that there had been no concerns about Bowen when he was hired to work in its social services and safeguarding department.

Councillor Val Slater, portfolio holder for health and wellbeing, said: “These are appalling crimes. As with all crimes against children, we need to remember the victims in this case and we hope the conviction of Mr Bowen will bring them some justice.”

Michael Jameson, strategic director of children’s services, said: “What this case shows is that paedophiles exist in every walk of life, but through the police and agencies working together, they can and will be caught. It’s important to remember the young victims behind Mr Bowen’s crimes. Everyone in our community needs to work together to help protect young people and prevent crimes like these happening.”

David Niven, independent chair of Bradford Children Safeguarding Board, said: “Full checks were carried out when Mr Bowen was employed and there were no convictions or concerns arising from those background checks. However, we will look again at our procedures to see if there are lessons to be learnt.”

Bowen had served on Ilkley Parish Council for 18 years before resigning in 2016, blaming the council’s “enfeebling leadership” as his main reason for leaving.

He was chairman of the parish council in 2011 when Jimmy Saville was invited to switch on the town’s Christmas lights. Saville died several weeks before the ceremony.